Lawyer: Manning assessed for disorder

The lawyer who defended Army Pvt. Bradley Manning against charges of leaking classified information said Wednesday that his client is being assessed at a military prison for gender identity disorder, and that he’s hopeful the military will allow Manning to receive hormone therapy.

Civilian attorney David Coombs spoke to more than 150 students and faculty at Roger Williams University School of Law, where he has taught. Manning, who now goes by the name Chelsea, is serving a 35-year sentence for a July conviction on espionage and other offenses for sending more than 700,000 documents and some battlefield video to the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks. After sentencing, Manning expressed the desire to live as a woman and receive hormone therapy. The military previously said it does not provide it.

Coombs said the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., brought in an expert, whom he would not identify, to assess Manning’s overall health, including her previously diagnosed gender dysphoria — the sense that she is a woman in a man’s body. Two Army behavioral health specialists diagnosed Manning with gender dysphoria before her trial, but the Army has said prisoners must be re-evaluated when they are moved to a new facility.

— Associated Press

Rights group accuses FBI of harassment

A civil rights group accused the FBI on Wednesday of harassing friends of a Chechen man shot to death in his Orlando apartment by an agent during questioning about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that the FBI has been threatening to arrest friends of Ibragim Todashev unless they become informants and spy on local mosques, restaurants patronized by Muslims and hookah lounges.

Todashev was killed in May while FBI agents and others questioned him about his friendship with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Officials originally said the Chechen man lunged at an agent with a knife. They later said it was no longer clear what happened.

FBI spokesmen Paul Bresson didn’t immediately comment.

— Associated Press

Banned book could return to shelves: High school students in Randolph County once again can get “Invisible Man,” Ralph Ellison’s classic 1952 novel of alienation and racial discrimination, at school libraries. Nine days after the county school board banned the book, it reversed itself at a hastily called special meeting Wednesday night, voting 6 to 1 to return the novel to school bookshelves. Several board members apologized for the ban and said they had been chastened by an outpouring of angry objections from county residents.

Sandy evacuees may be forced from hotels: About 350 homeless Hurricane Sandy evacuees who have been sleeping in New York City-funded hotel rooms for nearly a year may be forced to check out for good. Lawyers for the city argued in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court this week that the program must end Monday. That’s when the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will stop reimbursing the city for the program. City officials say it has cost $70 million to house the refugees.

— From news services