Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, refused again Thursday to testify to a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and was again sent to jail for up to 18 months.
And this grand jury is just coming out of the gate and could be in business for most of the year, which means Manning could be in jail for that long as well.
He ordered a fine of $500 a day if she does not testify within 30 days, raising that to $1,000 a day if she does not testify within 60 days.
According to her attorneys, the piling on of a coercive financial penalty is highly unusual, typically reserved for compelling testimony from representatives of corporations, not individuals.
"I would rather starve to death than to change my opinion in this regard", she told District Judge Anthony Trenga.
In a statement at the time she was taken into custody, Manning said she "will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech".
Although Manning has been given no idea what the grand jury investigation is about, her legal team believe it's in relation to her former interactions with Assange in 2010.
"I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury", Manning insisted. The U.S. government has requested he be extradited by the U.K. He's now serving a 50-week sentence in jail there for jumping bail in 2012.More news: Russia Intends to Rebuild Relations with US, Putin Lauds 'objective' Mueller Report
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Assange was himself arrested on April 11 after being booted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he'd lived under asylum for almost seven years.
Manning was released from jail after that grand jury's term expired.
But her freedom was short-lived.
So she's blaming... Donald Trump?
Manning has already served two months in jail but was released last week when that grand jury term expired. President Obama commuted her sentence after she served seven years, in 2017.
On Thursday, in court, the extent of Manning's resolve on the issue was clear.
"The prosecutors are deliberately placing me in an impossible position: go to jail and face the prospect of being held in contempt again or forgoing my principles and the strong positions that I hold dear". There is nothing new. "They're not asking anything new, there's no new information". They didn't like the outcome.
"The goal here is really to relitigate the court-martial", Manning said outside court on Thursday. Really? Manning should probably get some better attorneys because the ones she has now don't seem to be serving her interests very well. "It is telling that the United States has always been more concerned with the disclosure of those [leaked] documents than with their damning substance", she told reporters.