Up to 175 yrs in Prison: US Slaps Julian Assange with 17 More Charges Under Espionage Act
A federal grand jury has announced 17 additional charges under the Espionage Act against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who is currently in a UK jail awaiting an extradition hearing.
The new indictment, made public on Thursday, relates to US documents WikiLeaks published in 2010, and alleges Assange revealed the names of individuals who were working with the US government, thus endangering their lives.
"The superseding indictment alleges that Assange was complicit with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the US Army, in unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defense," the Department of Justice said in a statement.
“The department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy and we thank you for it. It has not and never has been the department’s policy to target them for reporting. But Julian Assange is no journalist,” said John Demers, head of the DOJ’s National Security Division.
The new charges expand the original one-count indictment of conspiracy to hack into US government computers, announced in March, prior to Assange’s arrest in London. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, on top of another five from a previous indictment, if convicted.
Chelsea Manning, the former US Army private who provided the State Department documents and military documents, was summoned by a federal grand jury in Virginia but refused to testify. She is currently in jail, facing indefinite confinement for contempt of court. There was no indication Manning was in any way involved with the new charges.