US to lay out case against Assange at extradition hearing


FILE – In this Wednesday May 1, 2019 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taken from court, where he appeared on charges of jumping British bail seven years ago, in London. The alleged rape investigation involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently in prison in Britain, has been discontinued, a Swedish prosecutor said Tuesday Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

LONDON (AP) – The U.S. government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are about to face off in a high-security London courthouse. American authorities want to try Assange on espionage charges that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. The extradition hearing that starts Monday comes a decade after WikiLeaks infuriated American officials by publishing a trove of classified military documents. U.S. prosecutors say he conspired with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawyers for Assange plan to argue that the case against him is politically motivated. A final decision on extradition is not expected for months or even years.

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