- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2020

Chelsea Manning’s supporters were on their way Friday to covering more than $250,000 in court fines the former WikiLeaks source owes following her release from jail this week.

An online fundraiser circulated by Manning’s supporters had garnered more than $100,000 in donations within roughly 24 hours of her release from a Virginia jail announced Thursday.

Manning, a 32-year-old former Army analyst, was ordered last March to testify in front of a federal grand jury and was found in civil contempt of court upon refusing to cooperate.

She was accordingly ordered committed to the custody of the Attorney General until either purging herself of contempt or until the term of the grand jury expired but not to exceed 18 months.

Manning consequently spent roughly two months jailed at a detention facility in Alexandria, Virginia, before the term of the grand jury expiring last May.

She was ordered again to testify days following her release, however, and when she refused a second time she was sent back to jail and ordered to be fined for each day she remained in contempt.

A lawyer for Manning said in a court filing last week that her client had been ordered to appear before the grand jury again this Friday and planned to refuse to testify.

Manning’s legal team subsequently issued a statement this Wednesday announcing that she had attempted suicide while in custody and was in a hospital recovering.

U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga ordered Manning’s release the following day, and her supporters began sharing a link to an online fundraising campaign shortly afterward.

Manning ultimately spent nearly the entirety of the last 12 months in custody and incurred approximately $256,000 in court fines as a result of her non-compliance.

“Chelsea does not have the means to come up with over a quarter million dollars on her own, and is exhausted from this ordeal, and can really use your help repaying these fines,” reads a message posted online by the fundraiser’s organizer.

Manning previously served roughly seven years in military prison for convictions related to admittedly providing a trove of classified U.S. military and diplomatic material to the WikiLeaks website in 2010.

Prior to being found in contempt the first time, Manning said all of the substantive questions asked of her in front of the grand jury for which she refused to answer involved leaking to the website.

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has since been criminally charged in connection with Manning’s disclosures and is currently jailed in London fighting a U.S. extradition request.

Jeremy Hammond, a computer hacker similarly found in civil contempt last year for refusing to testify in Alexandria, has said that he too was asked questions about Mr. Assange but refused to answer them. A separate court filing entered Thursday by Judge Trenga, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, said that his testimony was no longer needed because the grand jury has been discharged.

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