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

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

The indictment against Assange was inadvertently revealed when Assistant US Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer urged a federal judge to "keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged", according to The Washington Post.

The charges would "need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested", Dwyer wrote.

"The court filing was made in error", explained Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia.

"That was not the intended name for this filing", he said.

The 47-year-old Assange has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012, where he took refuge over fears of being extradited to the USA over the 2010 WikiLeaks cable dump.

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. Officials have alleged the emails were hacked by Russian spies and transferred to WikiLeaks.

But recently-ousted US Attorney General Jeff Sessions past year declared the arrest of Assange a priority.

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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.

On Thursday, it was revealed in The Wall Street Journal that the Justice Department is feeling "increasingly optimistic" about the possibility, Washington insiders believe.

The filing asked the court to seal the charges, meaning they are kept secret from public view. "Obviously, I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly unsafe precedent to set".

Facing extradition from Britain to Sweden to be questioned in a sexual molestation case, Assange six years ago took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy, where initially he was treated as a welcome guest.

Ecuadorian officials say they have already cut off the WikiLeaks founder's internet, saying it will be restored only if he agrees to stop interfering in the affairs of Ecuador's partners - notably the United States and Spain. Prosecutors are known to copy text from past court filings to make similar arguments in new cases, typically changing names and other relevant details accordingly. Seitu Sulayman Kokayi was charged enticing a teenage girl to have sex with him.

Carlos Poveda, the lawyer of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, told Sputnik that Ecuador might extradite his client, suggesting Quito might have reached an agreement for this with London and Washington.

If Assange were to leave the embassy and be arrested by British authorities, he would likely still fight extradition in the British courts.

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