Assange seeks asylum in France as extradition trial approaches
Julian Assange will seek asylum in France, according to the Associated Press. Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder are currently preparing for his lates hearing, where he faces extradition to the United States on 17 criminal charges for unlawfully publishing the names of classified sources, as well as conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to obtain access to classified information.
Manning's 35-year sentence was commuted by President Obama after spending nearly seven years in prison. Assange, meanwhile, spent nearly seven years on Ecuador's London embassy before he was ejected and arrested by British police for jumping bail in an unrelated case.
Speaking from Paris, Assange's defense team said that the case against him is unfair, and violates his human rights while his health is suffering.
"We consider the situation is sufficiently serious that our duty is to talk about it" with French President Emmanuel Macron, said French lawyer Eric Dupont-Moretti.
Assange's Spanish coordinator, Baltasar Garzon, confirmed that the legal team will argue that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) acted as a middle man for the Trump administration to offer Assange a pardon if he showed proof that Russia was not involved in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee's email. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied on Wednesday.
"The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman," said Grisham. "He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie."