×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Julian Assange Found Guilty in U.K. Court

Julian Assange has been found guilty of failing to surrender to authorities in Britain. Following his arrest Thursday morning at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, the WikiLeaks founder appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court later in the day to answer the charge he was officially arrested for, dating from a 2012 warrant.

Assange, who pleaded not guilty to breaching bail, could face up to 12 months in a British jail following the guilty verdict. He did not give evidence at the hearing.

The British judge hearing the case called Assange’s behavior that “of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest,” saying his assertion that he had not had a fair hearing was “laughable.” Assange was then sent to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing.

Assange was arrested Thursday morning by Scotland Yard officers, who were invited into the embassy by the Ecuadorean ambassador following the South American government’s decision to withdraw diplomatic asylum for Assange. He had taken refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault. Although that case has since been dropped, a British arrest warrant remained open for the WikiLeaks founder “for failing to surrender” to authorities.

His arrest opens up the possibility of extradition to the U.S. on federal charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which the Trump administration said it would pursue against Assange after his arrest. Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said she would fight the extradition request, saying it set “a dangerous precedent.”

“We’ve today received a warrant and a provisional extradition request from the United States alleging that he has conspired with Chelsea Manning in relation to the materials published by WikiLeaks in 2010,” said Robinson, speaking outside the British court. “This sets a dangerous precedent for all media organizations and journalists in Europe and elsewhere around the world. This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.”

Standing with Robinson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said it was “a dark day for journalism.”

The British government must now decide whether to grant the extradition request. If convicted, Assange could face up to five years in U.S. prison.

Assange has long feared extradition to the U.S. to face allegations of leaking embarrassing top-secret U.S. documents. Some in the U.S. have called for Assange to face the death penalty. In April 2017, former U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions called his arrest a “priority.”

Announcing his decision to end Assange’s political asylum, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said he had “requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr. Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty.” He said the British government had confirmed this in writing.

Assange could also face renewed pressure to appear in Sweden. Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for the Swedish woman whose case against Assange was the initial cause of his fleeing inside the embassy, issued a statement to Britain’s Guardian newspaper saying she was going to do everything possible “to get the Swedish police investigation reopened so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted  for rape.”

The activist’s friend Pamela Anderson, a frequent visitor during his time at the Ecuadorean Embassy, attacked the British government on Twitter for its actions, calling the U.K. “America’s bitch.”

More Politics

  • Hollywood Figures Set L.A. Fundraiser for

    Hollywood Figures Set L.A. Fundraiser for Joe Biden

    WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joseph Biden, expected to announce his presidential bid on Thursday, will trek to Los Angeles in May for a showbiz-centric fundraiser, according to sources. The event will be held May 8 at the home of James Costos, a former HBO executive who was U.S. ambassador to Spain under President Barack [...]

  • Twitter Jack Dorsey

    Trump Meets With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey After Complaining of Bias

    WASHINGTON — Less than 12 hours after complaining that Twitter doesn’t “treat me well as a Republican,” President Trump met with the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, and indicated that they would be “keeping an open dialogue.” “Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and [...]

  • President Donald Trump listens to a

    White House Orders Administration Officials to Skip Correspondents' Dinner

    WASHINGTON — The White House is ordering administration officials to skip this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner amid ongoing attacks by President Trump toward the news media, CNN and other news outlets reported on Tuesday. Trump already announced that he would not attend the dinner and would instead hold a rally that evening, as [...]

  • President Trump to Make State Visit

    President Trump to Make State Visit to the U.K. in June

    Buckingham Palace has confirmed U.S. President Donald Trump will make an official state visit to the U.K. this summer. British Prime Minister Theresa May promised a state visit, with its accompanying pomp and pageantry, when meeting the President shortly after he took office in 2016. The British Royal family’s official Twitter account confirmed it was [...]

  • Seth Moulton Launches Presidential Bid

    Rep. Seth Moulton Launches 2020 Presidential Bid

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), an Iraq veteran who has diverged from Democratic leadership in the House in recent years, announced Monday that he is running for president, saying that “decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy.” Moulton confirmed that he was running in an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content