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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: 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.