A Win for Reality Winner’s Legal Defense Team
Will Be Able to View Some Documents in Preparing Defense
The defense team for Reality Winner, the 25-year-old Air Force veteran charged with releasing a classified document revealing Russian interference in U.S. election systems, achieved a victory in the fight to get her a fair trial, according to an article in the Augusta Chronicle:
She may see any document that is deemed unclassified or is specifically marked by federal prosecutors as “authorized for disclosure to Reality Leigh Winner.” That material is expected to include intelligence reporting, network audit logs of U.S. government agency, FBI interview reports including Winner’s own interview, and correspondence of contractors from May 24 to June 1.
Although federal prosecutors insist the document Winner allegedly leaked is classified, The Intercept online news media produced an in-depth report on a classified document it received this summer that is an analysis of the extent of Russia’s tampering efforts during the latest presidential election.
Reality’s defense team argued that preventing them from reviewing classified information the prosecution planned to use against her was a violation of her 6th amendment rights.
Defense Still Not Allowed to Discuss Primary Document
This new court decision is helpful, but Reality is still a long way from getting a fair trial. The new order is a supplement to the protective order approved on August 4th, which prevents Reality’s defense team from discussing the document Reality is charged with leaking, or any news reports referencing the document or any other classified information, in open court.
This could include public testimony that election officials were kept in the dark about security vulnerabilities in their election systems until they read about them in The Intercept, or reports of election day chaos that could have been prevented if officials had been properly warned.
Stand With Reality believes the government should declassify the document Reality is charged with leaking, as well as the full list of states affected by Russian government interference. The government’s case is based on the idea that Reality intended to harm American interests by releasing the document, but we believe the government did significant harm by refusing to communicate security vulnerabilities to election officials.
Releasing the NSA Report is critical to her case because it would allow jurors to know what she is actually accused of leaking. Releasing the NSA Report is critical to election security because it would allow states to investigate and prevent future security breaches, and increase confidence in election systems.
Charging Reality under the Espionage Act, as if she were a foreign spy, is nonsensical. She deserves whistleblower protection, and she deserves a fair trial.
Stand With Reality is raising money for Reality Winner’s defense, to ensure she receieves a fair trial. Donate to the legal defense fund here.