Appeals court rejects Chelsea Manning appeal of contempt order

Appeals court rejects Chelsea Manning appeal of contempt order
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A federal appeals court has denied Chelsea Manning’s request to overturn an order finding her in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury.

The order, issued Monday, rejected Manning’s argument that a judge improperly denied her request to say whether she was illegally electronically surveilled after she was convicted in 2013 for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks.

“Upon consideration of the memorandum briefs filed on appeal and the record of proceedings in the district court, the court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt,” the order reads. “The court also denies appellant’s motion for release on bail.”

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Manning had been held in contempt and has been in a federal prison since March, after she refused to testify before a grand jury in a WikiLeaks investigation. A federal judge has ordered her to remain incarcerated until Manning agrees to answer questions.

The order also comes shortly after the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Federal prosecutors in the U.S. allege in recently unsealed court filings that Assange sought to help Manning crack a password to a computer on a Defense Department network that contained classified materials.

The prosecutors have noted that it’s unclear if the password was ever hacked, and the charge against Assange is unrelated to WikiLeaks’s publication of classified materials.

Legal experts have pointed to Manning's current case as a sign that further charges could be filed against Assange, ahead of his extradition proceedings from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

Manning previously served seven years of her 35-year sentence for leaking the classified materials. Former President Obama commuted her sentence and she was released in 2017.