ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal judge Thursday ordered Chelsea Manning released from jail after the former Army intelligence analyst’s yearlong refusal to cooperate with a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga comes as the grand jury’s term expired and a day after Manning attempted suicide at the Alexandria Detention Center, where she has been held since May.
Trenga, however, ordered Manning to pay $256,000 in fines for her refusal to provide testimony in the case.
“Needless to say we are relieved and ask that you respect her privacy while she gets on her feet,” Manning’s legal team said.
Manning had been slated to appear for a Friday hearing where attorneys were preparing to argue for her release from civil contempt sanctions.
Shortly after noon on Wednesday, however, authorities rushed to Manning’s aid after she attempted to take her own life.
“It was handled appropriately by our professional staff and Ms. Manning is safe,” said Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who oversees the detention center.
Manning’s attorneys said in a statement that throughout her incarceration, she remained “unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse.”
“Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself,” the statement said.
Trenga had said that Manning refused to testify because of a philosophical objection to the use of grand juries and that Manning has persisted in her refusal.
Manning’s case has attracted heightened attention because of her status as a transgender soldier. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for her role in leaking a cache of classified government material to WikiLeaks.
At the time, she was known as Bradley Manning. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.
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