Julian Assange is Free!

Julian Assange is Free!
No one saw this coming.

In a shocking turn of events, Julian Assange will plead guilty to leaking US national security secrets and return to his native Australia, under a deal with Biden’s DoJ that ends a nearly 15-year battle nightmare for the WikiLeaks founder.

After spending more than a decade holed up and imprisoned in London – mainly to avoid being sent to the US – Assange, 52, is expected to be sentenced to time served (62 months in a London prison) during a court appearance Wednesday in Saipan, in the US Northern Mariana Islands, avoiding a potentially lengthy sentence in an American prison.

Prosecutors had been in talks with Assange to resolve the 2019 case, The Wall Street Journal reported in March, with one sticking point being Assange’s desire to never set foot in the United States.

To enter a felony plea, defendants generally have to show up in person in court. 

Assange’s team had floated the possibility of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, the Journal reported, which would mean Assange could enter the plea remotely.

The Justice Department and Assange’s legal team reached a compromise under which Assange wouldn’t have to travel to suburban Virginia, where the original case is filed, and prosecutors could still get a felony plea, the people said.  

As The FT reports, the agreement aims to resolve what has been a remarkable stand-off between the DoJ and Assange, who has become one of the world’s most controversial advocates for government transparency and whose legal troubles have spanned multiple countries. 

The plea deal also offers a neat solution to what was becoming an increasing political headache for the U.S. government. 

Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he hoped the U.S. could find a way to conclude the case against Assange, and lawmakers there passed a motion calling for Assange to be allowed to return to his native home. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also weighed in, saying that the British courts should not extradite Assange to the U.S. In February, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Alice Jill Edwards, said Assange shouldn’t be extradited to the U.S. to face trial, saying he suffered from “depressive disorder” and was at risk of being placed in solitary confinement.

Finally, while this is excellent news for Assange and his family – and journalistic freedom everywhere – we can’t help but wonder if this outstanding result would have occurred were it not for Biden heading into the first debate with Trump with his poll numbers in the toilet…

Who cares! They are; and Julian is free…