WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange expected to be released in US plea deal

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Julian Assange has reached a plea deal with US prosecutors that will end the WikiLeaks founder’s long-running legal saga over leaked documents and will finally allow him to walk free after many years. years of detention and imprisonment.

According to court records Monday, Assange agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate classified information related to the national defense of the United States, in connection with what prosecutors described as one of several acts of invasion. The largest breach of confidential documents in the country’s history.

He is expected to file a plea Wednesday morning in federal court in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth north of Guam. Sentencing will take place immediately following the filing of the guilty plea. Assange has already served 62 months in a British prison and prosecutors do not want any more detention.

The Saipan court was chosen because Assange refused to bring proceedings in the continental United States. It is also geographically close to his native Australia, where he is expected to travel after the proceedings conclude, according to a letter from prosecutors to the court.

The agreement aims to resolve what has caused notable confrontation between DoJ and Assange, the controversial government transparency advocate who has been one of the most high-profile and divisive defendants, and whose legal troubles have spread to multiple countries.

Lawyers representing Assange did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 as a platform to share leaked documents that shed light on what he believed was necessary to shed light on secret and powerful organizations, including governments and group.

In 2010, the site published a trove of military and secret documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former US military intelligence analyst who while serving in Iraq copied hundreds of thousands of incident logs. military documents and about 250,000 diplomatic cables.

WikiLeaks has drawn international praise for what it revealed about US activities in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, critics, including the US government, say this violates the law and puts people’s lives and safety at risk.

Sweden in 2010 issued an arrest warrant for Assange in connection with the rape investigation and he left that country for the UK. In 2012, following a ruling by the UK’s highest court allowing his extradition to Sweden, Ecuador granted asylum to Assange after he entered the country’s embassy in London. In 2019, when Ecuador revoked Assange’s refugee status, London police pulled him out of the embassy for arrest at the request of the DoJ.

US prosecutors sought Assange’s extradition to face an indictment unsealed in 2019, charging him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to crack a password to a computer confidentiality of the United States government. He was later charged with additional espionage, including the collection and disclosure of national defense information.

Assange has been detained at Belmarsh prison, a high-security facility in south-east London. He fought efforts to bring him to the US to face the charges, arguing that he faced life in prison if convicted, and in May the Supreme Court in London has allowed him to appeal the order allowing his extradition.

Manning was charged and convicted of espionage in connection with the WikiLeaks documents. Her 35-year prison sentence was commuted by Barack Obama shortly before he left the White House in 2017.


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