The United States finally got their man – with an assist from London police, –when Julian Assange was arrested this April for hacking crimes. To some Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks is a scoundrel. To others, he is a hero. To many people he is the odd duck who spent seven years in an Ecuadoran Embassy, where he’d been granted asylum, to avoid being arrested for disclosing mountains of information about the US government.
And now, he will also forever be the guy who smeared his own feces on the walls of the Ecuadoran Embassy as he was dragged out into the sun light, like some kind of frat-boy Nosferatu.
(Poop is funny, and I don’t care what you say.)
Forbes and many other media outlets disclosed that Assange was arrested by London’s Metropolitan police after the Ecuadoran embassy withdrew their asylum protection. The arrest was based on an outstanding extradition warrant.
The basis for the arrest
Assange was indicted by the US Department of Justice and charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The indictment asserts that in 2010, Assange and Chelsea Manning, a former US intelligence analyst, conspired to discover the password for “U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet).” Assange was also arrested for violating the terms of his bail when he fled to Ecuador.
Once the password was discovered, Manning retrieved and downloaded classified information which she then gave to Wikileaks, which was run by Mr. Assange. If convicted, Mr. Assange could be sentenced to five years in prison. Chelsea Manning has already been convicted in 2013, by court martial, of violating the US Espionage Act and other offense. The convictions were based on the disclosures to WikiLeaks of 750,000 documents which were either classified or considered sensitive due to the military or diplomatic nature.
Mr. Assange is also being investigated by the Swedish Prosecution Authority for a suspected rape and sexual assault offense.
WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange have been at the center of investigations involving the disclosures. There are claims that the disclosures were political in nature. There are also claims that the disclosures helped the Russians carry out their own computer hacking scheme. The views on Mr. Assange vary, in part, on whether someone thinks the disclosures were helpful or hurtful.
As with all American criminal cases, Mr. Assange is entitled to defend himself against the charges. Experienced lawyers will likely raise many issues including the statute of limitations, First Amendment issues freedom of speech and press arguments, other Constitutional defenses, the applicable laws, and the facts behind the charges.
But if I’m really honest here? I’m pretty sure he’s a traitor. And I’m really curious to see how this all plays out.
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, we believe that everyone is entitled to a defense, no matter the circumstances of the alleged crime. When you’re facing criminal charges, the right Annapolis attorney can make all the difference. You can reach my firm at 410.777.8103, or use my contact form to schedule an appointment.
Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.