“I would rather starve to death tan change my position in this regard,” Manning told the court.
By Charlie Gile and David K. Li
A federal judge ordered Chelsea Manning back to jail on Thursday after she again refused to cooperate with a grand jury investigating a release of documents by WikiLeaks.
U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga had Manning remanded and sentenced her to pay a fine of $500 per day if she doesn’t comply in 30 days and $1,000 after 60 days pass.
“I would rather starve to death than change my position in this regard,” Manning told the court.
She was released when the term of that grand jury expired. But then Manning was ordered to appear before a different panel in Alexandria on Thursday.
Federal prosecutors in Alexandria recently unsealed an indictment issued in secret in late 2017 against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who had been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London before his arrest by British authorities last month.
Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process.
She also claims to have revealed everything she knows about WikiLeaks at her court-martial, where she was found guilty of leaking a trove of military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website.
Even before walking into court on Thursday, she told reporters outside she wasn’t going to cooperate.
“No matter what happens today … whether I’m placed in confinement or not, I’m not going to comply with this grand jury,” the U.S. Army whistleblower said.
The threat of being locked up, Manning said, will have no effect on her.
“It doesn’t frighten me or disturb me,” she said. “I mean, I’ve already been to jail. I’ve already been to prison, so attempting to coerce me with a grand jury subpoena is just not going to work.”
Manning was sentenced to 35 years behind bars and served seven years of that term before then-President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.
“The goal here is to re-litigate the court martial,” she said before courthouse on Thursday. “They didn’t like the outcome, I got out. This is a way of placing me back into confinement.”