Consortium News:ㅤReport: Assange in Plea Deal Talks

Consortium News:ㅤReport: Assange in Plea Deal Talks

20-03-24 08:25:00,

UPDATED: The report in The Wall Street Journal makes public what Consortium News had learned off the record, namely that the U.S. is engaging Julian Assange’s lawyers about a deal that could set the imprisoned publisher free. 

U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C. (M.V. Jantzen, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Lawyers for Julian Assange and officials of the U.S. Justice Department are engaged in talks for a possible plea deal that could see Assange walk out of Belmarsh Prison in London as a free man, according to a report Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said the DOJ was considering whether to allow Assange to “plead guilty to a reduced charge of mishandling classified information,” which is a misdemeanor. He is currently charged with felonies for allegedly violating the U.S. Espionage Act and for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, charges that carry as much as 175 years in prison. 

A deal to accept guilt for mishandling classified information could see Assange “eventually” walk free if the five years he has already spent in London’s Belmarsh Prison is counted as time served, the newspaper said. 

“Justice Department officials and Assange’s lawyers have had preliminary discussions in recent months about what a plea deal could look like to end the lengthy legal drama,

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