U.S. Secretly Filed Charges Against Assange Last Year - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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U.S. Secretly Filed Charges Against Assange Last Year

Assange was taken into custody April 11 after spending more than six years under the protection of Ecuador's embassy in London

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    Julian Assange gestures as he arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, after the WikiLeaks founder was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody Thursday April 11, 2019. Police in London arrested WikiLeaks founder Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy Thursday, April 11, 2019 for failing to surrender to the court in 2012, shortly after the South American nation revoked his asylum.

    Court documents reveal federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in late 2017, NBC News reports, more than two months earlier than the indictment disclosed when he was arrested last week.

    Assange was taken into custody April 11 after spending more than six years under the protection of Ecuador's embassy in London. A federal indictment unsealed after his arrest accused him of trying to help a U.S. Army private crack an encrypted password to hack into a Pentagon computer and steal classified documents.

    But charges for the same offense were actually filed in secret on December 21, 2017, in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. The 26-page affidavit accompanying the charges listed what it said were hundreds of online exchanges between Assange and Chelsea Manning, the former Army private who provided hundreds of thousands of government documents to WikiLeaks, many of them classified.

    Despite filing the criminal charges, the Justice Department sought a grand jury indictment only a few months later in order to make a stronger case for extradition in the event Assange was arrested, an administration official said Monday.

    Assange’s Lawyer on Arrest: ‘This Sets a Dangerous Precedent’

    [NATL] Assange’s Lawyer on Arrest: ‘This Sets a Dangerous Precedent’

    Julian Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told reporters outside a London court Thursday that her client’s arrest sets a dangerous precedent for the rights of journalists.

    (Published Thursday, April 11, 2019)