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Govt. Prosecution 'Not Based in Fact,' Says Manning's Defense on Final Day

As prosecution manufactures image of 'traitor,' defense says facts speak for themselves

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Defense - Bradley Manning, Major Thomas Hurley, Captain Joshua Tooman, David Coombs (Image: C. Stoeckley / Creative Commons)Pfc. Bradley Manning's attorney began his closing arguments on Friday morning with a sharp retort to the prosecution's long-winded "diatribe" attempting to paint Manning as a "traitor" as an argument not based in reality.

“The government gave a diatribe yesterday, and a lot of it was not based in fact,” Manning's attorney David Coombs told the court after playing three clips from the “Collateral Murder” video originally leaked by Manning, according to reporter Kevin Gosztola who has been following the trial within the courtroom since its beginning.

Coombs is focusing on what he sees as the blatant holes in the government's case so far—which have created "a fictitious story to fit the charges."

On Thursday the prosecution had attempted to frame Manning as an “anarchist,” “hacker,” and a “traitor”—the first time, reportedly, the word "traitor" was used in the court proceedings.

"These terms—'anarchist,' 'hacker,' 'traitor'—all were clearly charged terms used to pejoratively with the intent that this would undercut the way the defense has tried to present Manning as a kind of conscientious and idealistic soldier who found it was necessary to blow the whistle and reveal certain documents," writes Gosztola.

The prosecution's closing arguments on Thursday had gone on for five hours in a courtroom rife with armed military police officers patrolling the aisles. The officers "walked behind reporters trying to cover the trial yesterday...leaning over shoulders of reporters to see what was on their screens," said Gosztola. Military Judge Colonel Denise Lind had also ordered a checkpoint at the courtroom entrance to "screen the reporters to ensure that electronic devices that could be used to record proceedings and personal hotspot devices did not enter the media center."

After closing arguments conclude on Friday, Lind will then go into deliberations that could take several days. Sentencing is scheduled to begin July 31 but could be pushed back if Lind's deliberations take longer than that.

Follow live tweets below as well as Kevin Gosztola's live blog for updates throughout the day.

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