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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange To Go Free After Striking Plea Deal With Biden DOJ

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was released from prison on Monday after striking a plea deal with President Biden’s Department of Justice.

According to newly released court documents, Assange — who has been detained in a British prison for five years — pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act, in which he “knowingly and unlawfully” obtained and shared classified information about the U.S. government’s operations in the Middle East. This information included “tens of thousands of activity reports about the war in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of reports about the war in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of State Department cables and assessment briefs of detainees at the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,” according to CNBC.

In releasing the information via Wikileaks, Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning, a trans-identifying man and former U.S. military intel officer. While originally sentenced to 35 years in prison, Manning’s sentence was commuted by former President Obama in the waning weeks of his presidency.

Assange is expected to appear in court in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S.-controlled territory, at around 9:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday, according to a letter issued by the DOJ. The islands are in close proximity to Australia — Assange’s home country — where he is expected to return following his court hearing and subsequent release. According to the BBC, the plea deal will allow Assange to spend “no time in US custody and … receive credit for the time spent incarcerated in the UK.”

Assange’s wife told Reuters on Tuesday that she will seek a pardon for her husband, claiming his guilty plea “under the Espionage Act in relation to obtaining and disclosing National Defence information is obviously a very serious concern for journalists and national security journalists in general.”

In addition to the aforementioned classified materials, Wikileaks notably published hacked communications from the Democratic National Committee in the months leading up to the 2016 election. While Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted Russian intel officers in connection with the hacking in 2018, the special counsel’s 2019 report — which found no evidence Donald Trump colluded with Moscow to steal the 2016 election — noted that Mueller could not determine, as RealClearInvestigations summarized, “how the stolen Democratic material was transferred to WikiLeaks” or “how WikiLeaks acquired the stolen information.”


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