David Coombs, the lawyer representing Bradley Manning gave his first speech in a civilian setting Monday, sharing with supporters of the accused soldier his thoughts about the U.S. military and government's harsh treatment of his client. Coombs addressed Manning's supporters gathered in a Unitarian church in Washington and pulled no punches with his criticism.
"Brad’s treatment at Quantico will forever be etched into our nation’s history as a disgraceful moment in time,” he said. “Not only was it stupid and counter-productive, it was criminal. An entire group of individuals, who I have no doubt were honorable, chose to turn a blind eye to how he was being treated … They cared about something more: the media impact.”
The speech followed a week of pretrial hearings, during which Manning himself testified about his harsh detainment conditions and psychological struggles. Manning's trial, which had been set to begin Feb. 4, will be pushed back to mid-March to leave time for more pretrial proceedings, the military judge announced Sunday.
Coombs praised his client and spoke with optimism about his future. “I hope that some day soon Brad can go to college and give back in public service. But he doesn’t have to worry about making a difference – he has made a difference," he said.