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posted by martyb on Friday November 16 2018, @06:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the Big-Ooooops dept.

Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange

Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals

The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government's yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group. It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange. The indictment came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him. "The court filing was made in error," said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia. "That was not the intended name for this filing."

[...] Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at George Washington University who closely tracks court cases, uncovered the filing and posted it on Twitter.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to say on Thursday what led to the inadvertent disclosure. It was made in a recently unsealed filing in an apparently unrelated sex-crimes case charging a man named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi with coercing and enticing an underage person to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Mr. Kokayi was charged in early August, and on Aug. 22, prosecutors filed a three-page document laying out boilerplate arguments for why his case at that time needed to remain sealed.

While the filing started out referencing Mr. Kokayi, federal prosecutors abruptly switched on its second page to discussing the fact that someone named "Assange" had been secretly indicted, and went on to make clear that this person was the subject of significant publicity, lived abroad and would need to be extradited — suggesting that prosecutors had inadvertently pasted text from a similar court filing into the wrong document and then filed it.

"Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, 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," prosecutors wrote. They added, "The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant, as well as this motion and the proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter."


Also at The Guardian, The Washington Post, MarketWatch, and The New Republic.

Previously: Prominent Whistleblowers and Journalists Defend Julian Assange at Online Vigil
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
DNC Serves WikiLeaks Lawsuit Over Twitter; US Senate Invites Assange to Testify for Russia Probe
The Guardian: Russian Diplomats Planned to Sneak Julian Assange Out of the UK
Julian Assange Sues Ecuador for "Violating His Fundamental Rights"
UK Said Assange Would Not be Extradited If He Leaves Embassy Refuge

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @09:02PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @09:02PM (#762843)

    A douche with a website does not a journalist make.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @09:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @09:22PM (#762850)

    A douche with a website does not a journalist make.

    These days that's what 90% of journalism is. And it has a long tradition in print. A journalist according to most sources is also, "one who prepares news." So no, fail, 100%.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by deimtee on Friday November 16 2018, @11:00PM (5 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Friday November 16 2018, @11:00PM (#762883) Journal

    I admire the US constitution and I think it is unlikely that any modern state will introduce anything anywhere near as egalitarian and enlightened.
    However, there appears to be a movement in the USA to claim that the first amendment only applies to 'Journalists' and 'The Press'. I would posit that the next step is to licence journalists.
    This is totally in opposition to the ideals in the constitution, and I think you should oppose at every opportunity the notion that being a journalist gives you extra rights. Those rights belong to everyone.

    If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @11:13PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @11:13PM (#762893)

      Wasn't it CNN who claimed only they, as professional journalists, were authorized to handle the Wikileaks releases?

      If journalist licensing is on the horizon, it will be welcomed by the media oligarchs.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @11:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @11:18PM (#762894)

        CNN has a First Amendment right to say dumb bullshit.

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @04:05AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @04:05AM (#762953)

      Yeah, the first amendment needs to be preserved, just like the second amendment! Wait... OK, so...

      The founders didn't envision advanced journalism with photos, video, and recorded audio. That stuff is for military-grade propaganda. The first amendment gives you the right to a quill pen, and maybe some movable lead type.

      People under 21 shouldn't speak. They might say something dumb.

      Felons shouldn't speak. They might say something evil.

      It shouldn't be possible to put more than 10 sentences in a paragraph or more than 10 paragraphs on a page. Changing the page should require a tool.

      Words longer than 0.50 inches should be illegal, not counting compound words.

      Every document must have a serial number. Every printing tool must have one too, and must be registered with the government.

      Trimming paper should require a federal paper trimming license.

      Getting a license to speak should require that you be fingerprinted and take a class on correct ideas. Actually getting the license is at the discretion of your local police chief.

      In some locations, you have to hide your documents in an envelope when you carry them in public. In other locations, you have to openly display your documents for all to see. Either way, violating the requirement is a felony.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @04:25AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @04:25AM (#762956)

      It is called a 'Press Pass' and only 'reputable' journalists from large organizations were usually given one. They are necessary for getting into all sorts of press events and even some conventions (E3 was notorious for this, which is what lead to the initial round of internet journalists when everybody wanted to see the latest tech when E3 was the hot thing in the 90s. Hell, Megatokyo's opening plot centered around their attempt and failure to get into E3!)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @07:51AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @07:51AM (#762992)

        That's basically an admission ticket to a hosted event(s). You have always been able select your invitees/guests on your property.
        What you can't do is stop people talking or reporting.
        I think the judge was wrong when he ordered them to re-instate Jim Acrosta's white house pass, and I hope they appeal it. The can't stop him talking but they can certainly keep him out.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Saturday November 17 2018, @04:33PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 17 2018, @04:33PM (#763137) Journal

    A douche with a website does not a journalist make.

    Actually, yes, that does make a journalist. But then again, you haven't been officially licensed to disagree with me and hence, your opinion is invalid.