The amazing run of events continues at RWU Law; with a session with Justice Elena Kagan already in the books http://law.rwu.edu/blog/justice-kagan-rhode-island-0 and a visit by iconic Justice Sandra Day O’Connor slated to be announced shortly (stay tuned!), we were treated to an event this week that garnered literally worldwide attention (including an Associated Press article that was picked up by scores of U.S. and international publications) namely, the first extended public comments from David Coombs, lead defense counsel for the soldier charged with the largest breach of secrecy in U.S. history, PFC Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning.
Coombs was interviewed in front of a packed house by our own Professor Emily Sack, a Criminal Law expert, and Coombs was remarkably candid on a broad range of issues including what role Manning’s gender dysphoria had on the proceeding, why he recommended that his client plead guilty to lesser charges but go to trial on the most serious charges, and why they elected to have the case tried to a single judge rather than a panel of officers, as is typically the case in a court martial. He also talked about how Manning is faring in prison and whether the government is going to comply with Manning’s request to receive hormone therapy while in custody.
After the interview, members of the audience, including RWU Law students affiliated with the military, members of the public, and reporters got an opportunity to question Coombs further, the first time that he has been available to answer media questions in an open forum, and the scrum that occurred after the end of the program was quite remarkable (see the last pic below).
Here are just a tiny sample of the media links on the program from around the world and then some pictures from a fascinating program.