U.S. Federal prosecutors fight effort to unseal Assange charges

U.S. Federal prosecutors are fighting a request to unseal an apparent criminal complaint against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In papers filed Monday in Alexandria, prosecutors argue that the public has no right to know whether a person has been charged until there has been an arrest. Assange has been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under a grant of asylum and has long expressed fear of a U.S. prosecution.

Free-press advocates asked a judge Nov.16 to unseal charges against Wikileaks Boss, Julian Assange after prosecutors inadvertently mentioned those charges in an unrelated case.

Prosecutors acknowledge the mistake in Monday’s court filing but refuse to say whether the error is confirmation Assange has actually been charged.

The Associated Press and other news outlets have reported that Assange is indeed facing unspecified charges under seal. While the exact charges against Assange remain unclear, WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables.

WikiLeaks’ role in releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 has also been under scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.

A hearing on the motion to unseal is scheduled for Tuesday morning Nov. 27 in Alexandria.

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