Lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Assange says he would fight charges

Legal Events

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not willingly travel to the United States to face charges filed under seal against him, one of his lawyers said, foreshadowing a possible fight over extradition for a central figure in the U.S. special counsel’s Russia-Trump investigation.

Assange, who has taken cover in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum, has speculated publicly for years that the Justice Department had brought secret criminal charges against him for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

That hypothesis appeared closer to reality after prosecutors, in an errant court filing in an unrelated case, inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges. The filing, discovered Thursday night, said the charges and arrest warrant “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”

A person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case had not been made public, confirmed that charges had been filed under seal. The exact charges Assange faces and when they might be unsealed remained uncertain Friday.

Any charges against him could help illuminate whether Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election. They also would suggest that, after years of internal Justice Department wrangling, prosecutors have decided to take a more aggressive tack against WikiLeaks.

A criminal case also holds the potential to expose the practices of a radical transparency activist who has been under U.S. government scrutiny for years and at the center of some of the most explosive disclosures of stolen information in the last decade.

Those include thousands of military and State Department cables from Army Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, secret CIA hacking tools, and most recently and notoriously, Democratic emails that were published in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election and that U.S. intelligence officials say had been hacked by Russia.

Federal special counsel Robert Mueller, who has already charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with hacking, has been investigating whether any Trump associates had advance knowledge of the stolen emails.

Related listings

  • Court orders Japan company to pay 4 Koreans for forced labor

    Court orders Japan company to pay 4 Koreans for forced labor

    Legal Events 10/31/2018

    In a potentially far-reaching decision, South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that a major Japanese steelmaker should compensate four South Koreans for forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula before the end of World War II.The l...

  • Chief justice re-elected to Supreme Court of Virginia

    Chief justice re-elected to Supreme Court of Virginia

    Legal Events 08/29/2018

    The current chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia has been elected to a second term in that role.The court said in a news release Tuesday that the justices re-elected Donald W. Lemons as chief justice. His second term will begin Jan. 1, 2019...

  • Weinstein pleads not guilty, released on bail

    Weinstein pleads not guilty, released on bail

    Legal Events 07/07/2018

    Harvey Weinstein, who was previously indicted on charges involving two women, was released on bail on Monday while fighting sex crime accusations that now include a third woman."We fight these battles one day at a time, and today we won this round," ...

New York Commercial Litigation Law Firm - Woods Lonergan PLLC

Founded in 1993 by Managing Partner James F. Woods, Woods Lonergan PLLC has built a strong reputation as a resourceful and industrious firm that provides clients with clear, concise, and straightforward answers to their most challenging legal issues. Partner Lawrence R. Lonergan, who joined the firm in 2008, has been a friend and colleague to Mr. Woods for over 40 years and shares the same business philosophy. Woods Lonergan PLLC’s collective experience and expertise enables the firm to expeditiously and effectively analyze the increasing challenges clients face in an evolving business and legal world, in many instances, avoiding unnecessary time and expense to our clients. Our mission is simple: provide cutting-edge expertise and sound advice in select areas of the law for corporate and business clients. We thrive on providing each client with personalized attention, forceful representation, and a collaborative team effort that embraces collective knowledge.

Business News

Uptown Manhattan Intellectual Property Attorneys Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted and defended numerous intellectual property disputes. >> read