Manning Lawyer Asks Hearing Officer To Step Aside

By: AP
By: AP
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The civilian attorney for Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of leaking classified information to the WikiLeaks website, has asked the presiding officer at his pretrial hearing to step down.

The presiding officer, Army Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, called a recess 30 minutes into Friday's proceeding at Fort Meade in Maryland to consider the request.

Manning defense lawyer David Coombs cited four reasons Almanza, who is an Army reservist, should recuse himself.

Chief among them is Almanza's civilian occupation as a Justice Department prosecutor. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation targeting WikiLeaks found Julian Assange. Manning is charged with aiding the enemy by leaking hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the website.

Almanza said he hasn't formed an opinion about Manning's guilt or innocence.

The hearing is to determine whether Manning should be court-martialed.

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