Entries in Hearing (7)


Preliminary Hearing Starts for Accused Colorado Shooter James Holmes

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- A preliminary hearing for accused Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes is set to begin Monday morning in Centennial, Colo.  Hundreds of people including witnesses, victims and families are expected to attend.

The hearing will essentially be a mini-trial in which prosecutors will present witness testimony and evidence -- some of which has never been revealed before -- to convince Judge William Sylvester that there is enough of a case against Holmes to proceed to a trial.

Witnesses to be called for the prosecution include the Aurora police lead detective, first responders, the Arapahoe County coroner and likely a computer forensic specialist, according to prosecution sources who declined to be identified, citing a gag order in the case.

A top priority, the prosecution sources say, will be showing that Holmes acted with premeditation when he allegedly murdered 12 people and wounded 58 on the night of July 20 during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Defense attorneys may pursue a legal strategy to show that Holmes was not in his right mind at the time of the shooting.

Holmes, who has not yet entered a plea, has been repeatedly described in court by his legal team as mentally ill. While a graduate student at the University of Colorado, he was in the care of a psychiatrist.

Prosecutors say they will also present photos, video and 911 calls during the hearing, which is expected to last all week.

The preliminary hearing will be held in the largest courtroom available in Arapahoe County, which holds about 100 people.  Overflow crowds will be able to watch the proceeding on a video and audio feed in several rooms around the court complex, including a jury assembly room that has space for about 300 people.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning Speaks Publicly for First Time

Alex Wong/Getty Images(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Private First Class Bradley Manning, the American soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and confidential military and diplomatic documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, took the stand in a military court Thursday to make his first public statements since his arrest in 2010.

Manning appeared confident and animated at a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland as he described the mental breakdowns and extreme depression he suffered during his first year in detention, from cells in Iraq and Kuwait to the Marine base at Quantico in Virginia. Within weeks of his arrest, Manning said, he became convinced he was going to die in custody.

"I was just a mess. I was really starting to fall apart," the 24-year-old former Army intelligence analyst said. Manning said he didn't remember an incident while in Kuwait where he bashed his head into a wall or another where he fashioned a noose out of a bed sheet as his civilian attorney, David Coombs, said he had, but Manning did say he felt he was "going to die... [in] an animal cage."

"I certainly contemplated [suicide]. There's no means, even if the noose... there'd be nothing I could do with it. Nothing to hang it on. It felt... pointless," he said. Manning had been on suicide watch since late June 2010, a month after his initial arrest in Baghdad.

Manning faces 22 charges related to his alleged use of his access to government computers to download and pass along a trove of confidential government documents and videos to WikiLeaks, including the 2010 mass release of 250,000 State Department cables detailing years of private U.S. diplomatic interactions with the governments and citizens the world over. The unprecedented document dump became known as "Cablegate."

Earlier this month Coombs wrote on his blog that Manning was willing to plead guilty to some lesser offenses. On Thursday the military judge in the case said eight lesser charges could be reviewed by Manning's defense attorneys for a potential plea deal, but a response likely won't be determined until December.

The most serious charge Manning now faces, aiding the enemy, could bring a penalty of life in prison should he be found guilty.

Manning's defense has argued for all charges to be dropped, citing a perceived breach of Manning's right to speedy trial and his "unlawful pretrial punishment" while in custody at the Marine brig in Quantico.

But in Thursday's hearing, Manning described his time in custody prior to his stay at Quantico as an ordeal of its own.

He recounted an incident in Baghdad when he fainted from the heat in his cell. Later in Kuwait, Manning said he was initially given phone privileges he used to call an aunt and friend in the United States, but that privilege was taken away a short time later.

After his alarming breakdown in June 2010, Manning told a mental health specialist that he really "didn't want to die, but [he] just wanted to get out of the cage," saying he believed his life had "just sunk."

Manning was given medication that improved his mood to the point that the young soldier felt he "started to flatten out" and resigned himself to "riding out" whatever was coming his way.

After he had been held in Kuwait, Manning said he was "elated" when he learned he was being transferred back to America. He had feared being sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba or to a U.S. facility in Djibouti in Africa.

"I didn't think I was going to set foot on American soil for a long time," he said.

Once at Quantico Manning was still on suicide watch for two weeks. After that ended, he remained on maximum custody and prevention of injury status, which required strict vigilant monitoring of his behavior. He remained in this status for the duration of his nine-month stay at Quantico. Testimony presented at this week's pre-trial hearing showed that psychiatrists treating Manning repeatedly assessed that he was no longer a suicide risk and should not remain on prevention of injury status.

Manning said he spent 21 to 23 hours a day in his cell. He was allowed 20 minutes in the yard to soak up some sunshine and said he was only allowed to sit on his bed with crossed legs if his guards allowed it. His feet were in restraints and he could not rest against the walls.

He was once again placed on suicide watches in January and March, 2011 following comments to his brig guards that indicated to them that he might be suicidal. During the March incident Manning's underwear was taken away from him and he slept naked for a few nights and was required to stand naked at attention one morning.

During Thursday's testimony Manning demonstrated the dimensions of his cell that Coombs had marked on the courtroom carpet with masking tape. He also demonstrated the suicide prevention blanket and smock issued to him during those incidents.

Manning drew laughter from spectators in the courtroom when he described some of the behavior he exhibited in his cramped quarters to fight the boredom. He described the mirror in his cell as "the most entertaining thing in there. I spent a lot of time there." When Coombs asked why, Manning replied "boredom, sheer out of my mind boredom."

That episode as well as others were documented by brig officials and base commanders as erratic behavior.

The trial against Manning is set to begin in late January, should the defense fail to succeed in getting the charges dropped.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Holmes, Accused Aurora Theater Shooter, Tried to Harm Himself, Sources Say

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(AURORA, Colo.) -- Accused Aurora, Colo., theater shooter James Holmes, 24, was taken to the hospital Tuesday after he tried to harm himself by ramming his head into the wall of his jail cell, sources told ABC News.

Holmes was taken from his jail cell to a hospital for treatment and is now back in his cell, the sources said. He is able to move and talk.

In a hearing Wednesday, Holmes’ defense attorneys said their client was in no condition to appear in court Thursday but would not say why.

Arapahoe County District Judge William B. Sylvester granted a continuance and postponed the Thursday hearing until Dec. 10.

Holmes has been charged with killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 people after he opened fire inside a movie theater July 20. He has yet to enter a plea.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Line Forms 3 Days Before Health Care Hearing

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- More than 72 hours before Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court health care hearing starts, the line for spectators is already forming outside.

At 9 a.m. Friday morning the first person started the line in front of the Supreme Court. As of 3 p.m. there were six people in line, all to be allowed in to hear the arguments challenging the constitutionality of the health care legislation.

Seats to one of the most-anticipated hearings is a hot commodity around Washington. In general, there are about 60 seats reserved for the public. There are 34 additional seats for the public who just want to get a glimpse, they are rotated in every 3-5 minutes.

Five of six of the people in line already Friday were placeholders, holding a place for another person. One was just doing this as a favor for a friend who was in work all day, he admitted, and scored the second position in line.

“I think I might be the first person to check in on Facebook,” he exclaimed, not wanting to use his name.

The intention of the other placeholders were far less generous than simply helping a friend: they are sitting out on the sidewalk in line all weekend for cash.

“I’m performing a job,” the first person in line Friday said.

All declined to speak on camera or give their names. But they divulged that some were getting paid, “in the hundreds of dollars,” for this gig.

John Spears works for a Senate committee and is holding the place for someone on the committee. He’s getting paid his regular wage of a day’s shift to sit outside the Supreme Court Friday. All placeholders admitted that they were on a schedule with many others. They’ll sit out here for a certain amount of time, and then swap out with another person, holding the place in line.

“When he comes, I’m gone,” Spears said of the next worker to hold the place for the Senate committee staff.

The first person in line Friday morning, said he will pull a 24 hour shift, from 9 a.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday until he is relieved.

Those in line have brought the essentials: chairs, PDAs, coffee, Gatorade, water, snacks and cushions to sit on the hard concrete sidewalk ledge. Some are listening to music, others are already sleeping.

Out of the six people already gathered in line, only one was holding the place for herself. And now, the placeholders have taken that job over too.

The woman, who came all the way from Atlanta to hear the arguments, is back at her hotel sleeping.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Florida Drug Suspect Wore Crack Jacket to His Court Hearing

An accused drug dealer wore a jacket that depicts crack making to court for his hearing. (Michael D. Weinstein)(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A Florida drug suspect who arrived at his court hearing wearing a jacket depicting a recipe for crack cocaine was "exercising his freedom of speech," his lawyer said Monday.

Christopher Patterson, 25, of Dania, Fla., showed up in court Friday wearing a jacket with pictures of a box of baking soda, a pot over a fire, and a spoon with a white substance, showing the end product a "rock," slang for the drug.

The jacket also contained the phrase "stack paper say nothing," slang meaning to make money and not talk about where it came from.

Florida Defense Attorney Michael D. Weinstein was also in the courtroom Friday and took a picture of Patterson's jacket with a cellphone as the suspect approached the judge.

"I was absolutely shocked," Weinstein said. "I see someone charged with trafficking walking up to a judge who's going to determine your fate wearing a jacket like that. I was just blown away."

Patterson's lawyer, Joshua Rydell, told ABC News Monday that Patterson did not appear before the judge wearing the jacket, but defended his behavior.

"He was expressing his freedom of speech, just like any of us are entitled to do. It was his freedom of expression," Rydell said.

The lawyer said he did not want to discuss his client, but added, "People that come from his background don't typically understand what's appropriate to wear before a judge."

The Broward County State Attorney's office said Patterson is no longer in state custody.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Evidence Shows Bradley Manning Links to Wikileaks

Hemera/Thinkstock(FORT MEADE, Md.) -- Prosecutors in Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing Monday provided the first evidence linking the Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents with Wikileaks and the site’s founder, Julian Assange.

Army investigators said they had found Assange’s name on Manning’s personal computer, an email in which Manning claimed to have leaked a video to the site and a message in which he boasted that hundreds of thousands of military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan were “possibly one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”

In 2010, Wikileaks, published hundreds of thousands of military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than a hundred thousand State Department cables.

Army Special Agent David Shaver testified Monday that a review of the data card Manning used with two secure computers he used in Baghdad contained hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Shaver said he found the reports in an encrypted file after using the password "TWink1492!!" which was also the log-in for Manning’s personal computer. He agreed with the prosecution when they said, “So you got kind of lucky.”

Upon accessing the file, Shaver said, he found 91,000 Afghanistan battlefield reports and more than 400,000 similar reports from Iraq.

He also found a small text file that referred to the reports as being “Iraq and Afghanistan significant activities (SIGACTS) between 000001 on 31-jan 2004 and 23:59 am on 31 Dec 2009.”  Presumably the note was intended for Wikileaks and recommended sitting on the information “for 90-180 days to figure out how best to send and distribute such a large amount of data and to a large audience and protect the source. ”

It closed, “File is possibly one of the most significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare.”

Mark Johnson, a computer forensic analyst working for the Army, said he had reviewed Manning’s personal computer for instant messaging and Internet chat logs.

His search recovered a buddy list that included a contact for Adrian Lamo, the hacker who notified federal authorities about Manning’s boasts of transferring thousands of classified documents.

The list also contained the email address that was found to be associated with aliases for both Assange and Nathaniel Frank.  Johnson stated that it was “unusual to find two different aliases” assigned to one email address.

From the computer’s deleted files Johnson said he was able to recover 14 to 16 pages of chat logs between Manning and the alias Nathaniel that dealt predominantly with the sending of government information, but also mentioned Wikileaks.

When asked if he believed from these chats that the two parties knew each other Johnson responded, “They talked about ‘did you receive information’” and it appeared they “had known each other in the past.”

A second email address,,  was also found to be an alias for Assange.

Johnson also said he had recovered computer data that indicated Manning had uploaded materials from his personal computer to the Wikileaks website.

Additional archived information found on the computer indicated he had documents “clearly marked classified or secret.” Johnson also found that the laptop had been erased in early January 2010.

Johnson also examined Manning’s external hard drive, which contained contact information, a November 2009 text file with a phone number for “24 hour service, Ask for ‘Julian Assange.’”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Virginia Lacrosse Murder Trial Holds Preliminary Hearing

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- When University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely was questioned by police about the bludgeoning death of his ex-girlfriend, a detective told him bluntly, "She's dead, you killed her George, you killed her."

The police interview was read in court Monday during a preliminary hearing in the Charlottesville, Va., general district court. The hearing is to demonstrate there is probable cause a crime was committed in the May 3, 2010 death of Yeardley Love, Huguely's on-again, off-again girlfriend. Both were members of the school's nationally ranked lacrosse teams.

During Monday's hearing, Huguely, 23, was present by video conference as his lawyer Fran Lawrence told the court that his client did not intend to kill Love. Lawrence read from a detective's report in which he said during his interview with Huguely, "She's dead, you killed her George, you killed her," according to ABC News affiliate WTBD.

According to the detective's report, Huguely replied in disbelief, "I never did anything that could do that to her."

Defense attorneys for Huguely have argued that Love's death was caused by drugs and not by a brutal beating.

The 22-year-old Love was found face down and bloodied in her Charlottesville, Va., apartment. Her death came days after she told Huguely she was breaking off their relationship. Love's family issued a statement before Monday's hearing.

"We have faith in the justice system and trust that the truth will prevail," the family said. "We miss Yeardley so very much and will work tirelessly to make her proud of us. It is truly devastating to wake up each day and realize she is no longer here."

The Loves' statement continues: "Her bright, bright future was stolen from us all. Yeardley's contagious smile, kind spirit and gentle touch have left this world but we know heaven now has an angel like no other. We will never be able to sufficiently thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and prayers. They have given us the strength to continue and we are eternally grateful to each and every one of them. "

Huguely's attorney has argued that Love's murder was a tragic accident, and Huguely at the time waived his Miranda rights and told authorities exactly what had happened the night she was killed.

Huguely confessed to police, according to search warrants in the case, that in the early morning hours on a Monday, he kicked in the door to Love's bedroom and shook her violently, repeatedly banging her head against the wall.

Love's body was found later Monday after an early morning 911 call, face down on her pillow in a pool of blood. Her face was covered in scrapes and bruises, according to the warrant, and her right eye was swollen shut.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio