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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: 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.

    --
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  • (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.