WikiLeaks attorney expects Assange to be charged with espionage
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
A California attorney who does pro bono work for WikiLeaks says she expects the U.S. government to charge the website’s founder, Julian Assange, with espionage.
Speaking on The People Speak show on Paltalk.com and BBS Radio, Julie Turner said she anticipates an indictment will be issued in Virginia where the federal court is known to be conservative and is less likely to have a broad interpretation of the First Amendment. Her comments give insight into the defense that may be mounted for Assange if he is charged.
Turner said the government will argue that Assange is not a journalist and that WikiLeaks is not a news organization in order to avoid the prospect of bringing similar charges against the New York Times and other news entities that reported on the material posted by WikiLeaks.
Turner said, initially, the New York Times “roundly rebuked WikiLeaks and Julian Assange” until U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, “made the point that maybe the New York Times is guilty.”
“I suspect the U.S. government will try to distinguish Mr. Assange from the New York Times,” by arguing that he is not a journalist, she said.