Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act

Washington — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act and is expected to appear in a U.S. courtroom on the Northern Mariana Islands in the coming days, court records revealed Monday. 

The guilty plea, which is to be finalized Wednesday, will resolve Assange’s outstanding legal matters with the U.S. government. Justice Department prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of 62 months in custody as part of the plea agreement, CBS News has learned, which is on the high end for a single-count violation. Assange would not spend any time in U.S. custody because, under the plea agreement, he’ll receive credit for the approximately five years he has spent in a U.K. prison fighting extradition to the U.S. 

In a letter to the federal judge on Monday, the Justice Department said Assange opposed traveling to the continental U.S. to enter the guilty plea. The Justice Department expects Assange to return to Australia after the court hearing. 

said. Moreno accused Assange of being “an informational terrorist” by selectively releasing information “according to his ideological commitments.”  

At the request of the U.S. government, British police arrested Assange on April 11, 2019, at the embassy after Ecuador ended his asylum. By then, he was facing charges in the U.S. related to the 2010 leak. 

WikiLeaks was a key player in the 2016 presidential election, publishing thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee that had been stolen by Russian government hackers. WikiLeaks and Assange are mentioned hundreds of times in special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, though they were not charged for the 2016 conduct. 

Priscilla Saldana contributed reporting.


Source: cbsnews.com