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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."

#Vindicated.

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


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

 
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @10:42PM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @10:42PM (#762874)

    I dunno if she did anything official, but she was vocal about how an assassination of Assange would be in our best interests.

    Wait, so Assange has free speech rights in the US even though he is not a citizen and was not in the US when he released documents obtained illegally by Russia, but Clinton does not have free speech to voice her opinion?

    I don't know the last time (if ever) Assange was in the US but it hasn't been for at least the number of years that he's been hiding in that embassy. Why does the US Constitution apply to him?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Friday November 16 2018, @11:03PM (3 children)

    by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 16 2018, @11:03PM (#762885)

    This isn't a 1st Amendment argument, no matter how much you may try to spin it that way. This about a simple statement, "Clinton didn't go after Assange", which is arguably untrue.

    She was an elected figure, with far more influence over these decisions than you or I. When a former Secretary of State asks, "Can’t we just drone this guy?", that can very legitimately be seen as "going after the guy". "Drone this guy" directly translates to, "Execute this man using advanced military UAVs". If you are on the receiving end of that, you are not thinking about the 1st Amendment rights of a US politician, but looking up into the sky and wondering when death will rain down on you. No shit he decided to spend his life inside an embassy. They're not going to drone attack an Ecuadorian embassy.

    Assange's rights to free speech, or his acting as a member of the press, or Clinton's opinions and free speech rights are wholly irrelevant to the question of whether she was going after the man. I'm hard pressed to see how you could conclude otherwise, regardless of political leanings.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @09:23AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @09:23AM (#763012)

      Others defending Assange have been calling this a 1st Amendment issue (free press and free speech). It is neither because Assange, nor his actions, are not covered by the US Constitution. If you're not on US territory, or a US citizen, the the US Constitution does not apply to you.

      Clinton has only been elected to the US Senate (was it one or two terms?). In her position as Secretary of State she was appointed by the President after being confirmed by the Senate.

      Clinton's position as Secretary of State has (had) zero power to order any military or police actions. Zero. In fact, the Secretary of State doesn't even get to decide how much security the embassies get (security requirements are determined by the CIA, and visible security is staffed by the US Marines).

      Clinton did state that she thought Assange should be "droned" (however it was phrased), which we all can agree was a statement expressing her sentiments that the US would be better off if Assange was dead (however it was performed). But she has zero authority to request such actions against Assange. Her public statements, though broadcast to the world, were her opinions.

      Assange is not hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy because of Clinton's statements. He is there because he skipped bail in the UK related to extraditing him to Sweden to face questioning related to charges of sexual assault. The charges were subsequently dropped, but not until after Assange took refuge inside the embassy.

      Assange has released documents about many countries, including those who are much less subtle about eliminating people they don't like. They may not have the drone capabilities of the US, but they "get their man" anyway. Assange has much more to worry about than Clinton's public statements.

      Lastly, I am no fan of Clinton, but I am less of a fan of Assange. He is a phony. He is all about self promotion no matter what motives he claims. And he does not reveal documents he has about some counties because he "likes" them. If he was truly in the business of revealing the "truth" he shouldn't be holding anything back.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @02:15PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @02:15PM (#763092)

      "Can’t we just drone this guy?", that can very legitimately be seen as "going after the guy". "Drone this guy" directly translates to, "Execute this man using advanced military UAVs".

      So, in a closed meeting where no orders were given, someone possibly made a dark joke that nobody acts on nor was expected to act on and that's proof they are a fascist. Versus actually putting the gears of the justice department into motion and producing not just an investigation but a criminal complaint filed under seal. You, my friend, need to grow a sense of proportion. Too much time on the internet has debilitated your ability to accurately perceive reality.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by pTamok on Saturday November 17 2018, @11:03PM

        by pTamok (3042) on Saturday November 17 2018, @11:03PM (#763246)

        "Can’t we just drone this guy?", that can very legitimately be seen as "going after the guy". "Drone this guy" directly translates to, "Execute this man using advanced military UAVs".

        So, in a closed meeting where no orders were given, someone possibly made a dark joke that nobody acts on nor was expected to act on and that's proof they are a fascist. Versus actually putting the gears of the justice department into motion and producing not just an investigation but a criminal complaint filed under seal. You, my friend, need to grow a sense of proportion. Too much time on the internet has debilitated your ability to accurately perceive reality.

        "Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest?" [wikipedia.org]

        Non-orders, expressed by people in power can have consequences.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @11:05PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16 2018, @11:05PM (#762887)

    You have either ulterior motives, a low intellect, or have never read it. The US Constitution is quite clear about which bits apply to citizens, and which bits apply to everyone.

    Here's a hint. When it says "people" it applies to everyone. When it says "citizen" it applies to US citizens.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @08:49AM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @08:49AM (#763003)

      Here's a hint. When it says "people" it applies to everyone. When it says "citizen" it applies to US citizens.

      Here's a hint: it applies to "people" who are in the US, not people the world over. Assange is not, and was not, in the US. So how does it apply to him?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @09:07AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @09:07AM (#763007)

        Here's a hint: it applies to "people" who are in the US, not people the world over.

        No, it applies to everyone, and it always has.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @06:17PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @06:17PM (#763163)

          Got anything to back up this fantasy? The US Constitution does not apply all over the world, only in the US and US territories. Go to some other country, let's say Thailand, and say something derogatory against their government. Not only will you find that "free speech" doesn't exist there, but that Thailand has the death penalty for people who speak out against the government or say anything even remotely negative about their king.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 19 2018, @03:03PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 19 2018, @03:03PM (#763877) Journal

            Got anything to back up this fantasy? The US Constitution does not apply all over the world, only in the US and US territories. Go to some other country, let's say Thailand, and say something derogatory against their government. Not only will you find that "free speech" doesn't exist there, but that Thailand has the death penalty for people who speak out against the government or say anything even remotely negative about their king.

            What happens when you say something derogatory about Thailand in the US? Does that mean that Thailand police can just swing by and arrest you? Extradition works with two conditions: 1) that the activity (which causes an effect in another country) is a crime both where the act occurred and in the country which was affected by the act, and 2) there is an expectation that the defendant will receive the full protection of the law and that this protection meets the standards of the source country from which the defendant is to be extradited.

            We have this coy game where the defendant is supposed to be extradited to the US, and then despite being in the jurisdiction of the US Constitution subject to illegal kangaroo courts that refuse to honor the rights that the Constitution has granted. How can you not see the danger inherent in that? What happens when the next administration arrests you and extradites you to say, Saudi Arabia for anti-Islam hate speech? You might not even be offered the rudimentary legal protections of Saudi Arabia, because you committed your crimes elsewhere and aren't a citizen. Similarly, what happens when other countries start refusing to extradite people to the US because the US no longer offers rule of law and proper legal protection to defendants? Think of the blowback next time.

            Finally, if you're going to try someone in the US, then the Constitution mandates that they receive the full legal protections due a defendant in the US. Period. There is no provision for these sorts of games. The Founders were smarter than that.

      • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Monday November 19 2018, @03:02AM

        by Mykl (1112) on Monday November 19 2018, @03:02AM (#763760)

        This becomes a moot point. If Assange was not in the US at the time, then it cannot be said that he committed crime on US soil. Ipso Facto, he can't be arrested and extradited to the US for a crime that did not occur there.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday November 17 2018, @03:46AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 17 2018, @03:46AM (#762947) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes, there are consequences for exercising your free speech. Conspiracy to murder is covered by free speech, but it's also covered by some laws designed to punish that conspiracy.

    --
    Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday November 17 2018, @05:37PM (4 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 17 2018, @05:37PM (#763152) Journal

    Wait, so Assange has free speech rights in the US even though he is not a citizen and was not in the US when he released documents obtained illegally by Russia, but Clinton does not have free speech to voice her opinion?

    Why shouldn't he and Wikileaks have free speech rights again? And the problem with Clinton is not that she is exercising her speech, but rather that she is a government official who joked about killing someone for the mere act of speech.

    I don't know the last time (if ever) Assange was in the US but it hasn't been for at least the number of years that he's been hiding in that embassy. Why does the US Constitution apply to him?

    Because there are a number of places where rights are given to "The People" not citizens. Even if technically, Assange is not a member of "the People" at the time of the speech, he would be once he is extradited. The First Amendment in particular applies to The People not to citizens.

    Finally, what's up with the coy attempts to circumvent sound legal principles? Next time, think of how it can be used against you when your team isn't in power.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @06:39PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17 2018, @06:39PM (#763170)

      Assange doesn't get free speech under the US Constitution because he is not covered by it. The "people" mentioned in the US Constitution are people in the US at the time of their actions, not all over the world. I don't know if the Ecuadorian government grants its citizens and residents "free speech", but that's whose laws Assange's free speech would reside.

      Assange will not get retroactive rights under the US Constitution if/when he is extradited to the US. And what you refer to as his "speech" (releasing illegally obtained documents) is covered by US laws (we'll have to wait to see which ones his charging documents include).

      I am well aware of how rights can be revoked and "used against me". But Assange does not have the same rights in the US as a US resident does, nor someone visiting the US. He was a foreign actor, on foreign soil, taking actions that violated US law. You may not agree with the laws, or you may think the US should extend their Constitution to include Assange, but that doesn't mean you're going to get your wish.

      Regarding Clinton, her speech was exactly that: speech. And I don't really think she meant it as a joke. Was it ill advised? Yes. Was it heartless and brutal? Yes. Does it make her a vile human being? Yes. Was it speech? Yes. Was it covered by the 1st Amendment? Yes. Does she get more rights under the US Constitution than Assange? Yes (because he is not covered by the US Constitution).

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday November 17 2018, @07:59PM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 17 2018, @07:59PM (#763190) Journal

        Assange doesn't get free speech under the US Constitution because he is not covered by it.

        And as I noted, extraditing him to stand trial in the US would bring him under the jurisdiction of the US Constitution.

        The "people" mentioned in the US Constitution are people in the US at the time of their actions, not all over the world.

        Or at the time of their trials.

        I am well aware of how rights can be revoked and "used against me".

        You are demonstrating otherwise.

        But Assange does not have the same rights in the US as a US resident does

        Which is not in dispute. But he does get significant protections under the US Constitution even for speech and other activities that were taken outside of the US.

        Regarding Clinton, her speech was exactly that: speech.

        Inappropriate speech by a representative of the US government and the US people.

        • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Monday November 19 2018, @03:12AM (1 child)

          by Mykl (1112) on Monday November 19 2018, @03:12AM (#763763)

          To claim on one hand that Assange can be charged under US law and then on the other hand to say that US legal protections don't apply to him is trying to have your cake and eat it.

          Then again, US courts will charge a minor as an adult for taking a nude photo of themselves (so legally they are both a minor and adult at the same time), so it's hard to argue that there's no precedent for stupidity on this one.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 19 2018, @02:51PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 19 2018, @02:51PM (#763876) Journal
            Indeed. That's an excellent way to state the problem. When combined with your observation [soylentnews.org] that the alleged crime was not even committed on US soil, we end up with a conundrum. Why is it supposed to be valid for the US to charge people elsewhere in the world for crimes that may or may not have occurred, without US legal protections when the opposite can be just as valid? That the US can't charge those people for those alleged crimes because they didn't do them in the US?

            Current extradition requires that the act be a crime in both countries and that the defendant will receive the legal protections that he is due as considered by the country from which the defendant would be extradited. This coy game of not properly providing the full constitutional rights, would then be a valid justification for denying future extraditions to the US. That's merely one example of how this can backfire.

            We also have the specter of prosecutor shopping where people are extradited to countries with favorable (to the prosecutor) laws for punishing the defendant. Disparage Islam in public? You just might be seeing Saudi, Pakistani, or Indonesian prosecutors in your future as your government rids itself of a nettlesome critic.

            And I have to roll my eyes again at the AC who started this thread. He or she clearly hasn't thought through the many ways this derails the rule of law and democracy, despite protests to the contrary.