World Lawyer: Assange was offered US pardon if he cleared Russia
Trump is turning his pardon power into a shield
Jennifer Rodgers writes that Trump's pardon history has been problematic, but the President has gone beyond using the pardon power on his personal whim and is now using it for his personal protection. Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen, individuals charged by the Office of the Special Counsel in investigations into wrongdoing by the President, have been the subject of pardon talk.President Donald Trump can't stop talking about pardons. Among other news stories last week were various, sometimes conflicting, accounts about whether and when Michael Cohen may have sought a pardon.
LONDON (AP) — A lawyer for Julian Assange said Wednesday that the WikiLeaks founder plans to claim during his extradition hearing that he was offered a pardon by the Trump administration if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.
Assange is fighting extradition to the United States on spying charges, and his full court hearing is due to begin next week.
White House assembles team of advisers to guide clemency process as Trump considers more pardons
The group, led by son-in-law Jared Kushner, has been meeting since late last year to discuss a revamped pardon system.
At a preliminary hearing, lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said that in August 2017, then-Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Fitzgerald said a statement from another Assange lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, recounted "Mr. Rohrabacher going to see Mr. Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr. Assange ... said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Emails embarrassing for the Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were hacked before being published by WikiLeaks in 2016.
US to lay out case against Assange at extradition hearing
The U.S. government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will face off Monday in a high-security London courthouse, a decade after WikiLeaks infuriated American officials by publishing a trove of classified military documents. A judge at Woolwich Crown Court will begin hearing arguments from lawyers for U.S. authorities, who want to try Assange on espionage charges that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said the evidence was admissible in the extradition case.
Assange appeared at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday by video-link from Belmarsh prison, where he is being held as he awaits his extradition hearing.
U.S. prosecutors have charged the 48-year-old Australian computer hacker with espionage over WikiLeaks' hacking of hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents. If found guilty, he faces up to 175 years in jail.
He argues he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.
Assange spent seven years in Ecuador’s embassy after holing up there in 2012 to avoid questioning in Sweden over unrelated sexual assault allegations.
Assange was evicted from the embassy in April 2019 and was arrested by British police for jumping bail in 2012. In November, Sweden dropped the sex crimes investigation because so much time had elapsed.
There is no quick end in sight to Assange’s long legal saga. His full extradition hearing is due to begin with a week of legal argument starting Monday. It will resume in May, and a ruling is not expected for several months, with the losing side likely to appeal.
Supporters of Julian Assange demonstrate in London against his extradition .
© REUTERS / Peter Nicholls WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsonn, Julian Assange's father, John Shipton, and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, during the London demonstration , February 22, 2020. Two days before the start of Julian Assange's hearing, a protest against his possible extradition to the United States took place in London this Saturday, February 22. Thousands of protesters marched to demand the release of the founder of WikiLeaks.
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