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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) 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.