Assange was arrested by British authorities in April after spending nearly seven years under political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The US has announced 17 fresh charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as a Swedish court announces it will hold a hearing on 3 June to decide whether to issue a detention order - the first step towards seeking his extradition from Britain to Sweden. Julian Assange is no journalist, this is made plain by the totality of his conduct as alleged in the indictment. Numerous documents were highly classified. Once his sentence is concluded, Assange is expected to be extradited to the United States.
Julian Assange was charged Thursday in an 18-count superseding indictment for his role in orchestrating the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures, described by the us government as "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States".
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The charges were approved by a grand jury and drastically increase the legal fight that lies ahead for Assange.
Under President Trump the Department of Justice revived its Assange investigation, but when he was charged under seal in 2017 it was with a narrow complaint that sidestepped such concerns by focusing on a single incident of attempted hacking.
"The Department takes seriously the role of journalists and our democracy and we support it", Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers told reporters Thursday. It was also interpreted as the government attempting to dodge potential First Amendment issues by not addressing Assange's self-proclaimed status as a publisher.
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Assange is now in jail in London, where he was arrested in April.
Zach Terwilliger, the US attorney in the eastern district of Virginia, said that Assange is "not charged simply because he's a publisher".
Assange faces a total of 18 charges under the Espionage Act. He was arrested that day, April 11, by British police as he left the embassy. A federal judge last week imposed a fine of $500 per day if Manning does not testify within 30 days, and raised the fine to $1,000 per day if she does not testify within 60 days.
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