Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing

Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing”

Urging a judge to keep the matter sealed, Assistant US Attorney Kellen S Dwyer wrote that "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged".

While the DOJ has been investigating Assange for eight years, the prosecutors have yet to agree on the precise charges the 47-year-old might face.

Dwyer is also assigned to the WikiLeaks case.

In the August 22 filing, unsealed in late September and noticed Thursday by a sharp-eyed counterterrorism expert, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer urged a judge to keep charges against a sex trafficking and terrorism suspect, Seitu Sulayman Kokayi, under seal because "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged".

Prosecutors inadvertently disclosed the existence of a sealed indictment in a court filing in an unrelated case, WikiLeaks said Thursday.

However the US Mueller inquiry into alleged Russian election interference has suggested that WikiLeaks was used by Russian intelligence to distribute hacked material. "That was not the intended name for this filing". It is unclear what charges Assange faces.

WikiLeaks is under investigation by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, for publishing thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. But whether to charge the WikiLeaks founder was hardly a foregone conclusion. Last year, the US Justice Department was reportedly considering filing criminal charges against WikiLeaks and Assange in connection with the 2010 leak of diplomatic cables and military documents.

Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a awful and unsafe precedent.

On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter - which first brought it to the attention of reporters. He initially entered the embassy to avoid extradition for a rape charge in Sweden. He has argued that case was a pretext for what he predicted would be his arrest and extradition to the United States.

Though the Wikileaks founder has been hunkering down in London's embassy in Ecuador since the country granted him asylum back in 2012, the Journal reported that he could be publicly indicted soon, which might cause him to be pushed out.

USA officials had no comment on the disclosure in the document about a sealed indictment of Assange.

But British police have said they still intend to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy because he broke his conditions for bail by taking refuge there.

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