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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to enter guilty plea in CNMI federal court 


Julian Assange

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will plead guilty to a conspiracy charge at the District Court of the Northern Marianas on Wednesday morning.


The guilty plea was part of Assange’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.


The CNMI  federal court accommodated a joint request from the DOJ and Assange, who objected to traveling to the continental U.S. for the plea hearing.


In a letter to CNMI Federal Judge Ramon Manglona, Justice official Matthew McKenzie said Assange will return to his home country Australia immediately after the conclusion of the court proceedings.


Assange, who is scheduled to appear before the court on Saipan at 9 a.m. (local time), was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose top secret national defense information.


As part of the plea deal, Assange would be released after having spent five years in British prison.


The DOJ charged Assange for allegedly conspiring with Chelsea Manning, a military intelligence analyst, to use his WikiLeaks website to disclose tens of thousands of activity reports about the war in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of reports about the war in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of State Department cables and assessment briefs of detainees at the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

 

Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen, “did not possess a U.S. security clearance, and did not have authorization to possess, access, or control documents, writings, or notes relating to the national defense of the United States, including United States government classified information,” court documents said.


“This was an independent decision made by the Department of Justice and there was no White House involvement in the plea deal decision,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement Monday .

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