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Assange pleads guilty to espionage

Julian Assange news
Julian Assange arrives at court in Saipan. Image – @Stella_Assange, X.

Wednesday’s court hearing in Saipan marked the end of the WikiLeaks founder’s 14-year legal battle for freedom.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has pleaded and been found guilty in a US court to a single espionage charge. He is now free to return to his native Australia, having already served five years in a British prison.

Assange pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disseminate national defense information at the United States District Court for The Northern Mariana Islands in Saipan on Wednesday morning. He will likely be handed a 62-month prison sentence immediately afterwards, but as his five years served in London’s Belmarsh Prison will be counted towards this sentence, he will not see the inside of a jail cell.

Assange was accompanied in the courtroom by Australian Ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd, Australian Ambassador to the UK Stephen Smith, and his lawyer, Jennifer Robinson. Asked by Judge Romana Manglona whether he was pleading guilty or not guilty, he responded “guilty.”

The former WikiLeaks chief told Judge Manglona that he believed that the First Amendment to the US Constitution protected his publication of classified material, and that “the First Amendment and the Espionage Act are in contradiction with each other.” However, he added that he is pleading guilty because “it would be difficult to win such a case, given all the circumstances.”

The outcome of Wednesday’s hearing was widely known in advance. “We anticipate that the defendant will plead guilty to the charge…of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information relating to the national defense of the United States,” the US Justice Department wrote in a letter to the court on Tuesday. “We expect [Assange] will return” to Australia after the day’s proceedings, the department added.

Assange’s 14-year fight for freedom began in 2010, when he was arrested by British police over sexual assault charges in Sweden that were later dropped, Assange jumped bail in 2012 and was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was arrested again in 2019 when Ecuador revoked his asylum, and spent the next 1,901 days in Belmarsh.

The US Justice Department unsealed an indictment against Assange on the day of his arrest, charging him with 17 counts of espionage. Assange spent the next five years fighting extradition to the US, where he would have faced up to 175 years behind bars if convicted.

The charges against Assange stemmed from his publication of classified material obtained by whistleblowers, including Pentagon documents detailing alleged US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The WikiLeaks founder was released from Belmarsh on Monday, two months after the Wall Street Journal reported that his lawyers were in talks with US officials about a potential plea deal. Assange was preparing to mount a final appeal against his extradition at the time, and the WSJ’s sources claimed that US President Joe Biden wanted to reach an agreement rather than deal with the “political hot potato” of a journalist arriving in Washington to face criminal prosecution so close to November’s presidential election.

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Source:RT News

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Note to Julian Assange-
    GO TO RUSSIA WHERE YOU WILL BE WELCOMED AND SAFE FROM FURTHER HARASSMENT, HARM AND REPRISALS, AS NOTED BY THE AUSSIE COSSACK TODAY ON INFOWARS!!
    Running for office in Oz is out of the question, due to vote rigging, and spending more time in jail due to being targeted and prevented from running in the next (s)election!
    The treatment of Nigel Farage entering politics in the UK now verifies the Globalist Plans and Edicts.

    • Exactly right….Australia is a prison colony, as it has always been…whistle-blowers get 5+ years in jail for exposing war crimes….dirty little banana republic……

    • I read online that Julian is back in Australia and he was welcomed home by the prime minister. It just shows you Australia is not standing with the US on this matter.

  2. US military mistakenly mows down a group of hapless civillians in Baghdad, including two Reuters journalists.

    Journalist reports on it.

    Journalist spends 14 years imprisoned.

    Journalist has to be frog marched and plead guilty to criminal charges before he’s allowed his freedom.

    Something something democracy.

  3. All the land of the free has proven is its a DICTATORSHIP that HATES FREE SPEECH, just like its loser vassal govts in Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand…all of them have directly persecuted those who whistle blow and/or exercise their right to FREE SPEECH. Time for the globalist trash to find its way to the metaphorical dumpster of history….we all deserve better than this, Assange included…..

  4. Gary Webb – remember him? He exposed the Nicaragua Contra scandal in 1996. Committed suicide by shooting himself twice in the head in 2004. They waited for years to get him. And all the others.
    Go to Russia Julian Assange.

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