- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2019

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning was released from Virginia jail Thursday more than two months since being found in contempt for refusing to testify in front of a federal grand jury.

Manning has been served with another subpoena to testify next week, however, and could be held again in contempt again and jailed accordingly, her legal team said in a statement.

“Today marked the expiration of the term of the grand jury, and so, after 62 days of confinement, Chelsea was released from the Alexandria Detention Center earlier today,” her lawyers said late Thursday. “Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena. This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16, 2019.”

“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony,” her legal team said in a statement.

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office confirmed Manning’s release when reached Thursday evening by The Washington Times.

Manning, a 31-year-old former Army analyst, previously served seven years in prison for leaking classified documents published online by the WikiLeaks website, including military and diplomatic material involving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She was subpoenaed earlier this year to testify before a federal grand jury empaneled in Alexandria, where the Department of Justice has headquartered its WikiLeaks probe for nearly a decade, and was found in contempt for refusing to testify and ordered jailed on March 8 until either complying with prosecutors or the grand jury’s 18-month term expired.

Lawyers for Manning have challenged both the contempt ruling and her subsequent confinement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and earlier this week they argued that said she should be released from custody because she cannot be convinced to cooperate and thus confinement serves no lawful purpose.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, declined to comment when reached Thursday evening.

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria unsealed a complaint charging WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange on April 11, and he has been jailed in London fighting extradition to the U.S. ever since.

Mr. Assange, a 47-year-old Australian native, has been accused by federal prosecutors of attempting in 2010 to help Manning crack a password that would have allowed her to access additional material likely of interest to WikiLeaks.

He has been charged by prosecutors in Alexandria with conspiracy to commit computer hacking and faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment if sent to the U.S. and convicted solely on that count. The Justice Department is poised to potentially add further charges against Mr. Assange, however, and have 60 days since requesting extradition to argue their case for taking custody.

Mr. Assange’s next extradition hearing is scheduled for June 12.

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