The lawyer who defended Chelsea Manning against charges of leaking classified information said Wednesday that his client is being assessed at a military prison for gender identity disorder, and that he's hopeful the military will allow Manning to receive hormone therapy.
Civilian attorney David Coombs spoke to more than 150 students and faculty at Roger Williams University School of Law, where he has taught. Manning, previously known as Bradley, is serving a 35-year sentence for a July conviction on espionage and other offenses for sending more than 700,000 documents and some battlefield video to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She said after she was sentenced that she wishes to live as a woman and receive hormone therapy. The military previously said it does not provide it.
Coombs said the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, brought in an expert, whom he would not identify, to assess Manning's overall health, including her previously diagnosed gender dysphoria – the sense that she is a woman in a man's body. Manning was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by two army behavioral health specialists before her trial, but the army has said prisoners must be re-evaluated when they are moved to a new facility.
"They seem to be a person with the heart in the right place. They want to make sure they get the call right and they do what is in the best interest of Chelsea," Coombs said.