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posted by martyb on Friday May 24 2019, @11:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the One-man-takes-on-US-Government;-who-will-prevail? dept.

Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues.

The new charges were part of a superseding indictment obtained by the Trump administration that significantly expanded the legal case against Mr. Assange, who is already fighting extradition proceedings in London based on an earlier hacking-related count brought by federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia.

[...] On its face, the Espionage Act could also be used to prosecute reporters who publish government secrets. But many legal scholars believe that prosecuting people for acts related to receiving and publishing information would violate the First Amendment.

That notion has never been tested in court, however, because until now the government has never brought such charges. The closest it came was indicting two lobbyists for a pro-Israel group in 2005 who received classified information about American policy toward Iran and passed it on. But that case fell apart after several skeptical pretrial rulings by a judge, and the charges were dropped.

Though he is not a conventional journalist, much of what Mr. Assange does at WikiLeaks is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations like The New York Times do: seek and publish information that officials want to be secret, including classified national security matters, and take steps to protect the confidentiality of sources.

Also at BBC, CNBC, USA Today, and Reuters

Previously: Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange
U.S. Ramping Up Probe Against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Says
Wikileaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London
Julian Assange Sentenced to 50 Weeks in Prison for Bail Breach
Swedish Prosecutor to Reopen Julian Assange Investigation

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @05:01PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @05:01PM (#847171)

    Where are all those imbeciles who were apoplectic that Hillary supposedly made a private joke about droning Assange? Here's ya boy officially threatening Assange's life by charging him with crimes that could include a death sentence.

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  • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:22AM (1 child)

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:22AM (#847434) Homepage Journal

    Crooked "joked" about Droning him, that's so true. And, she "joked" about Moammar/Libya. About the incredibly brutal way he was murdered (RIP!!). That one happened because of her. By the way, no Due Process there. ZERO.

    My Justice Department, as you know has filed charges against this guy. Who, allegedly is one of the worst leakers, and hackers ever. We think he's been hacking, and leaking all over the place. So we're going through the Due Process with him. Trying to get him into our magnificent Justice System. And that one's the envy of the World. Trust me, we're doing it very fairly. He's going to get one of the fairest "trials" you've seen in you're entire life. Beautiful!!!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:41AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @12:41AM (#847441)

      Every post you make is a test of Poe's Law.