Testimony from Col. Carl Coffman, who served as the Special Court Martial Convening Authority from August 2010 to the summer of this year, indicates avoiding media attention may have played a role in delaying the government’s processing of the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The soldier, who is accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, has been in pre-trial confinement for around nine hundred days and his defense argues his Sixth Amendment rights have been violated.
Coffman took the witness stand to provide testimony in support of the government’s argument against a defense motion alleging Manning’s speedy trial rights have been violated. He discussed how he had signed delays that repeatedly pushed back a preliminary hearing called an Article 32 hearing, which must be held in order to determine whether to proceed to a court-martial. He explained some of the process for ordering and convening a sanity board to review whether Manning was mentally fit to determine whether he was mentally fit and understood the charges against him.