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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, Troll) by ElizabethGreene on Friday May 24 2019, @06:39PM (5 children)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Friday May 24 2019, @06:39PM (#847279)

    Remember the context of all this: Trump's constant accusations that a free press is literally the enemy of the people.

    This is incorrect. His accusation is that large swaths of the free press lie and uses their position of trust to deceive the people. The distinction is a subtle.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @07:57PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @07:57PM (#847323)

    This is incorrect. His accusation is that large swaths of the free press lie and uses their position of trust to deceive the people.

    No, you are incorrect. While trump started off making statements with enough space for the willfully blind to find the kind of nuance you are attributing to him, he has since escalated to outright accusations that the press in general is the enemy of the people.

    Here's one such tweet where he makes no such distinction, referring to the press at large: [twitter.com]

    The press is doing everything within their power to fight the
    magnificence of the phrase, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
    They can’t stand the fact that this Administration has done
    more than virtually any other Administration in its first 2yrs.
    They are truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

    You know what's really insane though? The way the press has barely reported on those statements. Its like they are a deer stuck in trump's headlights. They are unequipped to deal with the crisis of authoritarianism.
       

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:25PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:25PM (#847336)

      by "press" he means the media whores that are controlled by the same deep state scum that are trying to bring the US under complete NWO rule as another slave state and everyone knows who the fuck he's talking about. that's why the media whores don't repeat what he said b/c they are scared of what the people might do when they realize it's not just them that hates these disgusting pieces of shit on tv and at the major papers in california and new york. they're lucky they aren't all being burned alive and stabbed/shot when they go to lunch. free press, my ass

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:38PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 24 2019, @08:38PM (#847346)

        You seem like a level-headed guy.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @01:12AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @01:12AM (#847449)

          Would that be level zero/flattened?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @10:53PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 25 2019, @10:53PM (#847735)

            says the go along to get along, tax paying, boot licking whore.