Friday, December 10, 2010

"WikiLeaks: Julian Assange 'could face spying charges' "

"Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, could soon face spying charges in the US, according to his lawyer."

"Jennifer Robinson, Mr Assange's lawyer, said that she believes US prosecutors are finalising their case and charges could be "imminent".

Were he to be charged, it is likely to be under the Espionage Act, which makes prosecutes the gathering of national defence information if it is known to have been obtained illegally and could be used to the detriment of the US. It is also illegal to fail to return information to the US government.

Speaking to ABC News, Miss Robinson said she had heard a number of rumours from "several different US lawyers", but added that she did not believe the Espionage Act applied to Assange, who is she added is currently in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in London."

The Telegraph - WikiLeaks: Julian Assange 'could face spying charges'

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"A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says any prosecution of the whistleblowing website in the United States for espionage would be unconstitutional.

But Jennifer Robinson denied reports that Assange's legal team believe a US indictment over WikiLeaks' release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables is imminent.

"Our position is that any prosecution under the espionage act would be unconstitutional and call into question First Amendment protections for all media organisations," Robinson told AFP on Friday.
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She added: "We are taking legal advice on the possibility of prosecution in light of high profile public officials calling for his prosecution and rumours circulating in the US that a sealed indictment is being prepared, or may have already been prepared.

"But we do not think there are grounds for prosecution, nor have w
e seen any sensible explanation of which provisions would be relied upon.""
AFP/Sydney Morning Herald - US Assange indictment `unconstitutional'

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I wonder if media giants will be pulled into this case as intervenors? The New York Times published the documents.

This will make fascinating new law. I just hope the ideological balance on the U.S. Supreme Court has changed by the time this case makes it there.

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