Sealed Report Shows Julian Assange Has Been Charged In The U.S.

Frederick Owens
November 16, 2018

The lawyer's statement follows USA media reports that Washington was preparing to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder and was confident it would be able to have him extradited to the United States.

It's believed the unsealed case was unrelated to Assange and the document was filed by mistake, and the exact nature of the charges are still unclear.

But the charging of Assange in the U.S. could have implications for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether Donald Trump's election campaign team colluded with Russian Federation to influence the 2016 presidential vote, and whether Trump tried to obstruct the probe into that. United States intelligence agencies concluded that the emails were taken by Russian government hackers as part of an operation aimed at helping the campaign of Donald Trump.

United States media reports say USA officials are increasingly confident that Mr Assange will be detained and face charges in the US.

Assange's lawyer Barry Pollack, however, told the WSJ that he had "heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent". "That was not the intended name for this filing".

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The DOJ could choose to prosecute Assange in connection with Chelsea Manning's disclosure of some 750,000 military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks back in 2010. In another sentence, the prosecutor said that "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". "Obviously, I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly risky precedent to set".

Assange has been holed up in a small room in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than six years to avoid extradition to the US. It was submitted to the federal court in the eastern district of Virginia, which handles many cases involving national security. It was filed in the case of a man named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi.

Throughout that time, the U.S. has refused to say whether there are any sealed charges against Assange.

On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter - which first brought it to the attention of reporters.

A spokesman for the Justice Department in Virginia's eastern district would not address the question of whether the document meant Assange had already been charged by the US.

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