+

Julian Assange Departs UK Following Plea Deal Agreement with Biden Administration

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to a plea deal with the Biden administration that could allow him to avoid imprisonment in the United States, as per recently filed federal court documents, CNN reported. Assange has reportedly consented to plead guilty to a felony charge related to his alleged involvement in one of the largest […]

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to a plea deal with the Biden administration that could allow him to avoid imprisonment in the United States, as per recently filed federal court documents, CNN reported.

Assange has reportedly consented to plead guilty to a felony charge related to his alleged involvement in one of the largest breaches of classified US government material. If approved by a federal judge, this agreement would result in a 62-month sentence, equivalent to the time he has already served in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison while fighting extradition to the US. The plea deal includes credit for time served, potentially enabling Assange to return immediately to Australia.

WikiLeaks confirmed Assange’s release from Belmarsh, announcing on Tuesday that he had been granted bail by the High Court in London and subsequently left from Stansted airport. A video posted by WikiLeaks showed Assange boarding a plane after departing the UK, according to CNN.

A plea hearing and sentencing have been scheduled for Wednesday morning by the US District Court in the Northern Mariana Islands. Prosecutors informed the court that Assange preferred not to enter the continental US for his guilty plea, hence the venue near Australia, where he intends to return after the proceedings.

Justice Department prosecutors expect Assange to plead guilty and be sentenced accordingly. US authorities had sought Assange for publishing classified military records leaked by Chelsea Manning between 2010 and 2011. He faced 18 counts from a 2019 indictment related to the breach, with a potential maximum sentence of up to 175 years, although such a term was unlikely.

US officials alleged Assange actively encouraged Manning to obtain extensive amounts of unfiltered US diplomatic cables, potentially endangering confidential sources, as well as significant Iraq war-related reports and Guantanamo Bay detainee information, CNN reported.

President Joe Biden had hinted at a possible deal, supported by Australian officials, to facilitate Assange’s return to Australia. However, FBI and Justice Department officials insisted that any agreement include a felony guilty plea by Assange, according to sources cited by CNN.

Last month, a UK court ruled in Assange’s favor, granting him the right to appeal his final challenge against extradition to the US. This decision marked a significant victory for Assange after years of legal battles to avoid prosecution in the United States.

Assange’s case has garnered international attention and sparked debates over press freedom, government transparency, and the legal implications of publishing classified information. His journey from seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years to incarceration in Belmarsh, and now potentially to a plea deal and return to Australia, has been closely followed by supporters, critics, and legal experts alike, CNN reported.

Tags:

Joe BidenTDG TheDailyGuardianWikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange