Chelsea Manning's conviction in 2013 for leaking the largest amount of classified government files left the government scrambling to contain the unprecedented exposé. Now serving a 35-year sentence in the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Manning is crowdsourcing her defense fund on Twitter to keep her sentence appeal alive.
On Tuesday, Manning tweeted to her 50,000 followers for financial support to help fund her almost $100,000 in legal fees and to keep her sentence appeal alive. Unlike your run-of-the-mill crowdsourcing projects on websites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, Manning's appeal for funds neither features a snazzy video nor offers rewards to donors — instead, Manning tweeted for donations to be made through the Chelsea Manning Support Network or its Paypal account, or sent directly to the Legal Defense Fund.
Manning also tweeted on Tuesday that her attorneys will raise the issue of her treatment in Quantico while she awaited court martial that many supporters and prominent scholars have said was unconstitutional and could amount to torture.
Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was sentenced in July 2013 for handing over more than 700,000 government documents to Wikileaks in the massive leak that revealed American diplomatic and military activities abroad. She is currently appealing her 35-year sentence, and her attorneys are seeking a presidential pardon that the White House said it would not consider until all appeals have been exhausted, Politico reported.
Although the Chelsea Manning Support Network website doesn't list the number of donations or the total amount given so far, she tweeted to her followers on Thursday that there had been some $1,500 from 50 contributions in the two days since the first tweets on her legal defense fees. She also suggested that her followers set up a more conventional means of crowdfunding, like through Kickstarter, expressing concern that her Twitter account, created in April from her prison cell, would devolve into a "fund drive."