London, September 18
A lawyer for Julian Assange advised a London court docket on Friday that she was current when an ally of US President Donald Trump supplied to rearrange a pardon for the WikiLeaks founder in return for info that might “benefit President Trump politically”.
Australian-born Assange, 49, is preventing to keep away from being despatched to the United States, the place he’s charged with conspiring to hack authorities computer systems and violating an espionage regulation over the discharge of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.
His lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, mentioned in a witness assertion to the court docket that she noticed a gathering on the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017 between Assange and Republican then-US Representative Dana Rohrabacher.
She mentioned Rohrabacher and an assistant supplied to rearrange a pardon for Assange in return for details about the hacking of Democratic emails earlier than the 2016 US presidential election.
“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal—and that they would have an audience with the President to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she mentioned.
“The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr. Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some form of pardon, assurance or agreement, which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition,” Robinson mentioned.
Assange’s authorized crew first mentioned at hearings in February that Rohrabacher had conveyed a pardon supply to Assange. At the time, the White House referred to as the assertion that Trump had tried to achieve a take care of Assange “a complete fabrication and a total lie”.
Rohrabacher mentioned he had by no means spoken with the president about Assange, denied being despatched on Trump’s behalf and mentioned he was appearing on his personal when he supplied to ask Trump for a pardon for Assange.
Robinson mentioned Rohrabacher’s supply was offered to Assange as a “win-win” answer that might permit Assange “to get on with his life” and in return would additionally politically profit Trump.
During the 2016 US presidential marketing campaign, WikiLeaks printed a sequence of Democratic National Committee emails damaging to candidate Hillary Clinton. US investigators have concluded that the emails had been hacked by Russia as a part of an effort to affect the election.
The 2016 election leaks will not be immediately part of the US prison case towards Assange, which covers secret navy and diplomatic paperwork printed by WikiLeaks a number of years earlier.
Russia has denied meddling within the 2016 election and Trump has denied that his marketing campaign colluded with Moscow.
Assange is preventing the US extradition request, arguing that the Trump administration has introduced prices towards him for political causes.
In 2012, Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy to keep away from extradition to Sweden the place he was accused of intercourse crimes, which he denied and which had been later dropped. After seven years, he was dragged from the embassy by British police in 2019. Reuters