Defense Lining Up Witnesses For WikiLeaks Hearing

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Supporters of an Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks say the defense hopes to call as many as 50 witnesses at his military hearing next month.

Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that the prospective witnesses would include people who can talk about the public benefits of whistleblowers.

Paterson says his information was based on his communications with lead defense attorney David Coombs.

Coombs didn’t immediately respond to queries from The Associated Press about his plans.

The Army said Monday that the hearing will begin Dec. 16 at Fort Meade, near Baltimore. The Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing to determine whether Pfc. Manning will stand trial.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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