Court paper mistake reveals criminal charge against Julian Assange in US


The still-unsealed charges against Assange were revealed by Assistant US Attorney Kellen Dwyer as she made a filing in the unrelated case and urged a judge to keep that filing sealed. Hours earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that USA prosecutors are increasingly confident about indicting Assange and prosecuting him in US court.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has already been charged with unspecified crimes under seal, according to a recent filing in an unrelated case.

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.

Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador, and he's been living in the country's London embassy since 2012.

It was not immediately clear what charges Assange would face.

"The court filing was made in error", said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia, US media reported.

In the filing, Mr Dwyer says documents should remain sealed because "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged".

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The court filing, submitted by United States authorities in an unrelated case, mentioned the existence of criminal charges against someone named "Assange" even though that was not the name of the defendant.

USA intelligence agencies believe WikiLeaks coordinated with Russian hackers to release hundreds of stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election, giving President Donald Trump a boost late in the race, though the exact charges the DOJ would pursue against Assange remain unclear.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could soon face charges in a USA courtroom as Justice Department officials are preparing to prosecute the whistleblower now holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The filing in the Eastern District of Virginia came on August 22, in a case that combines national security and sex trafficking. "That was not the intended name for this filing".

It remains unclear what charges the bringing against the WikiLeaks publisher. Seitu Sulayman Kokayi was charged enticing a teenage girl to have sex with him.

"Prosecutors have also considered tying Mr. Assange to foreign intelligence services", people familiar with the discussions told the publication.

The 47-year-old has always denied the allegations, and his supporters claim the accusations were an attempt to possibly extradite him to the USA, where he could face charges over WikiLeaks' publication of classified military and diplomatic documents.