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