Fair Trial? Edward Snowden Stands No Chance
Edward Snowden revealed on Feb. 21st that he would come back to the US to stand trial if the government assured him of a fair one. He faces three felonies following his revelations of how the United States Government spied on its citizens through mass close watch of the domestic cell phones and the Internet trafficking by the US government,
It is questionable whether there can be a fair trial to a “whistle-blower” as long as the Espionage Act stands un-amended. The Act was created in 1917 during the WWI era, categorically rules out defendants from contending that their actions were made in the interest of the public.
Taking a closer look at cases of Americans who have leaked classified information to the public, it is unlikely that Snowden will get a chance to explain to the court the reason he exposed the top-secret information, nor will he even be allowed to prove that the information did not threaten the national security.
The first American to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, Daniel Ellsberg, for leaking Pentagon documents in 1972. Ellsberg tried to explain his actions at trial, and his attempts were objected and sustained as irrelevant by opposing counsel.
In Chelsea Manning’s trial in 2013, for leaking 700,000 documents to Wiki Leaks, the judge who was in charge of the case did not even let her or her lawyer contend her intent of leaking the classified documents. Her defense was also not allowed to cite apparent lack of damage to the US. She was eventually found guilty and handed a 35-year jail-term.
Another factor that will contribute to an un-fair trial is the presence of the current Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, will oversee the case. Lynch stated on numerous occasions stated that the government strongly stands by the three felony charges against Snowden, despite her predecessor, Erik Holder, saying they will come to a plea deal.
Snowden has received asylum from Russia since June 2013. Contradicting titles continue to circulate him, hero, traitor, whistleblower, and trailblazer. Either way, he brought international attention to an important topic. He is ready to come home to America if he will be guaranteed a fair trial and allowed to present his intent and reasoning to fellow citizens and a jury decides his fate.