Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

DOJ Lets Slip That Prosecutors Have Readied Charges Against Assange

DOJ Lets Slip That Prosecutors Have Readied Charges Against Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could soon face charges in a USA courtroom as Justice Department officials are preparing to prosecute the whistleblower now holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, The Wall Street Journal reports. The filing added that charges would "need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested". If so, charges against the WikiLeaks editor could be potentially linked to the notorious probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is struggling to find proof of Russia's "interference" in the 2016 United States election. Officials have alleged the emails were hacked by Russian spies and transferred to WikiLeaks.

Mr Assange's name was referred to "in error" twice by a federal prosecutor in Virginia.

He has long maintained that leaving the embassy would lead to his arrest and attempted extradition to the U.S. The U.S. government has never said if it has sealed charges against Assange, but former President Barack Obama's Justice Department reportedly decided against pursuing charges on the ground that WikiLeaks is too similar to a news organization. "That was not the intended name for this filing".

The court filing was from a prosecutor in the eastern Virginia state district court, Assistant US Attorney Kellen Dwyer.

The filing had been sealed until early September, though by itself it attracted little notice.

On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter - which first brought it to the attention of reporters.

Facing extradition from Britain to Sweden to be questioned in a sexual molestation case, Assange six years ago took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy, where initially he was treated as a welcome guest.

Pollack said he did not know if Assange has been charged.

Carlos Poveda, the lawyer of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, told Sputnik that Ecuador might extradite his client, suggesting Quito might have reached an agreement for this with London and Washington.

WikiLeaks has attracted USA attention since 2010, when it published thousands of military and State Department documents from Army Pvt.

If Assange were to leave the embassy and be arrested by British authorities, he would probably still fight extradition in the British courts.

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