By David E. Coombs
The Article 32 hearing for PFC Bradley Manning will begin on December 16, 2011 at Fort Meade, Maryland. The hearing is expected to last approximately five days. With the exception of those limited times where classified information is being discussed, the hearing will be open to the public.
The primary purpose of the Article 32 hearing is to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the government’s case as well as to provide the defense with an opportunity to obtain pretrial discovery. The defense is entitled to call witnesses during the hearing and to also cross examine the government’s witnesses. Each witness who testifies is placed under oath; their testimony can therefore be used during the trial for impeachment purposes or as prior testimony should the witness become unavailable.