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Wikileaks, Bradley Manning … and March Madness?

Dec 3, 2012, 12:59 PM EST

121202-bradley-manning-4p.380;380;7;70;0 Getty Images

US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning stands accused of providing Wikileaks with thousands of classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan back in 2009 and 2010.

I’ve heard about this, but didn’t pay it much mind until an email with a link to an article with this headline popped up: “How March Madness and ‘panties’ figure into hearing of Bradley Manning”.

Yup.

You earned a click with that one.

The long and short of it is this: Manning was kept on prevention of injury status, which is one level below suicide watch, while he was in jail awaiting his hearing. That meant that, among other things, Manning was kept in isolation and was not allowed to be in his cell alone with anything that could be used to harm himself. No socks. No underwear. Nothing like that. Manning’s lawyers say this constituted illegal punishment, and used his excitement about March Madness as evidence he wasn’t depressed or suicidal:

Earlier in the day, Staff Sergeant Ryan Jordan told the defense during cross-examination that one reason Manning was kept on prevention of injury status – essentially one level below suicide watch – was that Manning rarely engaged in conversation with the guards.

Jordan related an instance when he and Manning spoke about the upcoming March Madness — the frenzy around the national college basketball playoffs — and said that Manning talked about how he had enjoyed filling out brackets in previous years.

Well, now.

Good to know I’m not the only one that looks forward to March all year ’round.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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