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Chelsea Manning subpoenaed by grand jury, likely over contact with Assange

Activist and whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, though the summons makes no mention of what she will be questioned about.

The former Army intelligence analyst, convicted in 2013 of leaking military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, has stated she will fight the subpoena. Her legal team is expected to file a motion to quash on Friday morning on constitutional grounds.

“Given what is going on, I am opposing this,” she told The New York Times.

“I want to be very forthright I have been subpoenaed. I don’t know the parameters of the subpoena apart from that I am expected to appear. I don’t know what I’m going to be asked.”

Recently, prosecutors inadvertently revealed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been formally charged under seal in the Eastern District of Virginia, the same district in which Manning’s subpoena was issued. She has not stated whether she will cooperate should her motion fail.

US attorney for the Eastern District, Gordon D Kromberg, who successfully argued that the charges levelled against Julian Assange remain secret despite the inadvertent revelation, told her lawyers only that the subpoena was in relation to her past statements.

“It’s disappointing but not surprising that the government is continuing to pursue criminal charges against Julian Assange, apparently for his role in uncovering and providing the public truthful information about matters of great public interest,” said Barry Pollack, a lawyer on Assange’s legal team.

Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has lived in political exile since 2012. Former President Obama commuted, not pardoned, Manning’s sentence in 2017, with Manning having served less than four years of her original 35-year sentence.

Critics have denounced the Trump administration’s newly-revealed pursuit of charges against Assange after his predecessor opted not to tread into murky waters regarding press freedoms protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

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