Wikileaks Founder Assange Charged With 17 New Counts, Violating Espionage Act

Saul Bowman
May 24, 2019

In an 18-count, superseding indictment, Justice Department prosecutors allege that Assange directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in USA history.

In an 18-count, superseding indictment, Justice Department prosecutors allege that Assange directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in USA history.

It added he conspired and assisted ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in obtaining access to classified information.

The new indictment says Assange conspired with Manning to obtain and disclose classified national defence documents, including State Department cables and reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prosecutors say his actions "risked serious harm" to the United States.

Seven years ago, while out on bail after being arrested to answer sexual assault allegations in Sweden, Assange sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy.

Assange is now serving a jail sentence in the United Kingdom for breaching bail conditions and faces extradition.

The new charges dramatically raise the stakes of the case both for Assange and the news media, raising questions about the limits of the First Amendment and protections for publishers of classified information. "Julian Assange is no journalist".


"Julian Assange is no journalist", said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department's top national security official.

Assange will remain in London, where he faces a year in prison for failing to appear in court.

The indictment, which includes a total of 18 felony charges, alleges that Assange "engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning's transmission of classified records to Assange" and "actively encouraged" Manning to hack into a military computer network.

Zach Terwilliger, the US attorney in the eastern district of Virginia, said that Assange is "not charged simply because he's a publisher".

Assange is now serving a 50-week jail sentence in Great Britain for skipping bail and is fighting extradition to the United States, his lawyer did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Manning spent two months in the Alexandria Detention Center beginning in March after she refused to testify to a grand jury investigating Wikileaks.

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