By Josh Gerstein | GlobalResearch.ca
More than 30 news outlets and media organizations lodged an official protest Tuesday against secrecy in the court-martial of Pvt Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accusing of leaking hundreds of thousands of military reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.
The amicus brief filed with the militarys highest court, the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces, supports a request from the Center for Constitutional Rights to allow public access to motions, briefs, written rulings and the docket in Mannings court-martial.
While hearings in Mannings case have been in large part public, the motions and briefs the prosecution and defense are arguing about are not available from the court. So, those watching the arguments often have trouble understanding precisely what the lawyers are arguing about.
This Court should find that such an arrangement is unconstitutional, lawyers Gregg Leslie and Kristen Rasmussen wrote in the brief, which was joined by POLITICO and parent company Allbritton Communications Co. The inability to view court documents filed in connection with a particular judicial proceeding burdens the news medias constitutionally protected right to collect and disseminate the news and severely curtails journalists ability to do their jobs effectively.
The brief (posted here) also notes that in a tough economic environment, documents may be essential to journalists ability to report on the case, particularly one as drawn out as that of Manning, who was arrested in May 2010 and currently has a trial date in next January.
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