Julian Assange, Founder of WikiLeaks is facing prosecution by the US Justice Department. In an unsealed court filing, a U.S. federal prosecutor inadvertently disclosed that Assange has been charged with an undisclosed crime.
Assange, who has been seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, is afraid to step out, fearing the US might arrest him. In a sexual assault case, Assange was extradited by the British courts to Sweden for questioning. The matter has long been dropped.
Several charges against Assange have been discussed amongst the prosecutors. While final charges are yet to be determined, his involvement in the Espionage Act could be the top most reason for the proceedings.
A federal grand jury is investigating WikiLeaksover its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets stemming from the war in Iraq. During the presidential elections in 2016, Russian spies allegedly provided WikiLeaks emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign in a move to help Donald Trump get elected. Julian Assangehas denied receiving any files from Russia or supporting Trump’s campaign.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer is assigned to the WikiLeaks case. Dwyer urged the judge to keep the matter sealed, he wrote: “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” Later, he also said, the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”
Virginia’s Eastern District Federal prosecutors have been investigating Assange from a long time. The Trump administration has also given a second thought whether WikiLeaks organization members should be charged for the 2010 leak of diplomatic cables and military documents that the anti-secrecy group published. Possibility of charging WikiLeaks with criminal liability for the recent revelation of sensitive CIA cyber tools has also been explored by the investigators.
Last month, Julian Assange argued in court that he was being forced out of the Ecuador’s embassy in London by the government of Ecuador with the motive of handing him over to the United States.
He also asked for a court injunction to constrain the government from asking him to pay for doctor visits and WiFi, among other things. It was ruled against him by a judge.
Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack told the media that he wasn’t aware of any developments and reprehended his prosecution.
“We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent. Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent,”Pollack said.