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Chelsea Manning's military lawyer, now settled in CNY, reacts to release

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Before David Hammond came to Syracuse a little less than a year ago to start his own practice, he was assigned by the army to take on Chelsea Manning's appeal.

Manning was serving a 35 year prison sentence for leaking classified information before President Barack Obama granted her clemency just before leaving office.

Hammond spent the better part of two years working closely with Manning on her appeal while she was behind bars.

"It's not every day that someone is court-martialed for the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history," Hammond said.

Hammond says he was surprised at the news of her release, but says he feels it's the right decision.

"Chelsea has been through enough, she really has. In fact I think she has already served twice as long as anyone convicted of leaking classified information," he said.

Although Manning is free, her appeal is still active and waiting on a response from the federal government.

"I think there are some legal issues Chelsea could prevail on appeal. What affect that will have on the future of her's tough to tell at this stage of the proceedings," said Hammond.

Manning posted a tweet with the caption "First steps of freedom!!" upon upon being released from prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Wednesday morning.

Hammond says it's too early to tell what Manning may do with her new found freedom.

"That's something for her to decide as she get her feet settled and takes on the world...however she plans to do that," Hammond said.

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Hammond says he will continue to be involved in Manning's appeal as long as the army keeps him assigned to the case.

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