Transcript: PFC Bradley Manning’s unsworn statement at pre-sentencing hearing
Reporter’s note: I attended the pre-sentencing hearing of United States v. PFC Bradley Manning in Fort Meade, Maryland on Aug. 14, 2013, and I am making available my notes (with some omissions and minimal edits) of the court proceedings due to the limited public access to official transcripts in the Manning case. Court room illustration courtesy of Deb Vanpoolen.
Partial transcript of the unsworn statement delivered by PFC Bradley Manning during a pre-sentencing hearing on Aug. 14, 2013. The hearing was presided by Judge Denise Lind in Fort Meade, Maryland.
First, your honor, I want to start off with an apology.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that it hurt the United States.
At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues – issues that are ongoing and they are continuing to affect me.
Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions.
I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions.
Those effects are clear to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement…and through the merits and sentencing testimonies that I have seen here.
I’m sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions.
When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.
The last few years have been a learning experience. I look back at my decisions and wonder how on Earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better over the decisions of those with the proper authority.
In retrospect, I should have worked more aggressively inside the system. As we discussed during the providence statement, I had options and I should have used these options.
Unfortunately, I can’t go back and change things. I can only go forward. I want to go forward. Before I can do that, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.
Once I pay that price, I hope to, one day, live in a manner that I haven’t been able to in the past. I want to be a better person, to go to college, to get a degree, and to have a meaningful relationship with my sister, with my sister’s family, and my family. I want to be a positive influence in their lives, just as my aunt Debra has been to me.
I have flaws and issues that I have to deal with, but I know that I can – and will – be a better person.
I hope that you can give me the opportunity to prove – not through words, but through conduct – that I am a good person and that I can return to a productive place in society.
Thank you, your honor.
- WhatTheFolly.com: Court Martial of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning
- WhatTheFolly.com: PFC Bradley Manning apologizes for “unintended consequences” of leaks
- WhatTheFolly.com: Summary of testimony of Casey Manning Major at the court martial of PFC Bradley Manning on Aug. 14, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Military judge reduces maximum sentence for PFC Bradley Manning
- WhatTheFolly.com: Human rights, civil liberties & free press advocates express concern over ‘dangerous’ precedent set by Manning’s conviction on espionage charges
- WhatTheFolly.com: PFC Bradley Manning acquitted of “aiding the enemy” but found guilty of Espionage Act, theft & computer fraud charges
- Court room illustration courtesy of Deb Vanpoolen
- Bradley Manning Support Network’s website