The Article 32 hearing tomorrow is the equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to hold a trial. I’ll be shocked if the court rules there isn’t enough evidence. On the other hand I won’t be surprised if a plea bargain is reached. If an Article 32 hearing is like a civilian prelim then the defense won’t have much opportunity to present evidence or cross examine witnesses. That’s what trials are for.
Manning has been in custody since May 2010 and is facing a lot more years in Fort Leavenworth if he is convicted. I have yet to hear anyone claim he is innocent of turning over classified documents to Wikileaks, only that his actions were justified.
That defense is unlikely to fly in a court-martial where the judge and jury are all career military personnel. In fact, the judge might exclude evidence of his motives, because under the law they are irrelevant. If such evidence is allowed it may be contradicted by evidence that Manning was merely a disgruntled soldier seeking to retaliate for the way he was being treated.
Manning was originally held in maximum security at Quantico, but was transferred to medium security at Fort Leavenworth earlier this year.
(h/t Verum Serum)