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Federal judge releases Chelsea Manning from jail

A federal judge ordered former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to be released on Thursday after she was imprisoned for defying a subpoena to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks in May. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
A federal judge ordered former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to be released on Thursday after she was imprisoned for defying a subpoena to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks in May. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

March 12 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Chelsea Manning be released from jail, determining it was no longer necessary for her to testify before a grand jury.

Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia said that the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange is no longer active and Manning's detention for refusing to testify wasn't necessary.

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"Ms. Manning's appearance before the grand jury is no longer needed," he wrote. "Her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose."

Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst, was sentenced to 35 years in jail in 2013 for leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 but former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.

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Last year, she was found in contempt of court for refusing to give testimony before a grand jury in its investigation of WikiLeaks and was jailed for 62 days at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Va.

Upon her release in May, prosecutors immediately issued a second subpoena and ordered her to be jailed again until the end of the grand jury's term in addition to facing a fine of $500 per day for every day she refuses to testify, a figure that increased to $1,000 after 60 days.

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Trenga added, however, that Manning must still pay the $256,000 in fines she accrued as she remained imprisoned while refusing to comply with the subpoena.

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On Wednesday, Manning was hospitalized after attempting to take her own life but her legal team said she would still appear at a hearing on Friday on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions she faced.

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