DOJ Filing Mistakingly References Sealed Criminal Charges Against Assange

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svgIn a truly astounding misstep, the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Virginia filed a document that referenced an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.  The filng in an unrelated court filing seems to confirm that charges are pending or planned against Assange but the Justice Department will only say that  “The court filing was made in error.” The charges would raise serious first amendment questions over whether it is a crime to publish hacked emails if you were not a party to the hacking.  Wikileaks maintains that it was performing a journalistic function.

Mr. Assange, for the moment, remains in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

The disclosure was made  in a recently unsealed filing in an unrelated sex-crimes case against Seitu Sulayman Kokayi for allegedly coercing and enticing an underage person to engage in unlawful sexual activity. The most shocking aspects of this controversy would be if prosecutors simply cut and pasted material from an Assange filing — a practice that is common. I have been in cases where prosecutors literally copied material from wholly unrelated cases describing crimes and search areas that had nothing to do with my client.

In this filing, the prosecutors wrote  “Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

The constitutional issues surrounding such a filing could have great impact on the protections afforded both citizens and particularly journalists.  With reports of Ecuador pushing Assange out the door in London into the arms of awaiting police, these issues may soon be actual rather than rhetorical.


Here is the filing: DOJ filing

60 thoughts on “DOJ Filing Mistakingly References Sealed Criminal Charges Against Assange”

  1. Glenn Greenwald tweet:

    Verified account

    Follow Follow @ggreenwald

    If China hacked into the Trump Organization before the 2020 elections & obtained and published Trump’s tax and banking records, should media outlets report on their contents, or collectively agree to conceal them so as to not aid & abet propaganda efforts of an adversary country?

    2:06 PM – 17 Nov 2018

  2. Turley neglects to acknowledge that Assange has been right all along about a secret warrant or indictment. Also omitted in this story is the recent history of torture of “terrorism” suspects.

  3. Glenn Greenwald tweet:

    Verified account


    Powerful factions always want to imprison or otherwise punish those who publish information that make them look bad. That’s why the First Amendment exists. It’s always why the Trump DOJ/CIA & the Democratic Party are united in their desire to imprison Assange:

    1. There is a high degree of probability that the sealed criminal complaint against Julian Assange was filed at the direction of Attorney General Sessions. Since EDVA had original jurisdiction over Joshua Schulte (who waived jurisdiction), it is also highly probable that the sealed criminal complaint against Julian Assange is directly related to the Vault 7/8 leaks. Trying to blame this thing on Democrats is just plain flat out stupid–or maybe “desperate” would be more accurate. If it were up to me, Assange would get blanket immunity for everything so long as he spills the beans about everything–including, especially, all of the relevant events of the 2016 election involving Julian Assange and Wikileaks and who knows who all else. Now that’s what radical transparency would really look like from up here in the cheap seats.

      I do not advise anyone whosever to hold his or her breath waiting for Julian Assange to spill the beans about everything. And that goes double for Julian, himself.

  4. “As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom”

    Glenn Greenwald

    November 16 2018, 7:26 a.m.

    “As Dan Froomkin wrote in response to that article, he finds some of Assange’s actions “despicable” and “abhorred the heedless, unedited publication of the non-newsworthy and personally hurtful” emails that were released (I have expressed similar highly critical views about WikiLeaks’ publication decisions). But Froomkin nonetheless recognizes that “Assange remains a journalist” and that “In the Trump era, when the president of the United States is using his office to attack journalists and journalism itself, the First Amendment is a key bulwark of liberty.” That’s how people who actually care about press freedom – rather than pretend to care about it when doing so suits their political interests of the moment – will reason.

    “But that’s exactly the point. Neither the most authoritarian factions of the Trump administration behind this prosecution, nor their bizarre and equally tyrannical allies in the Democratic Party, care the slightest about press freedoms. They only care about one thing: putting Julian Assange behind bars, because (in the case of Trump officials) he revealed U.S. war crimes and because (in the case of Democrats) he revealed corruption at the highest levels of the DNC that forced the resignation of the top 5 officials of the Democratic Party and harmed the Democrats’ political reputation.

    “They’re willing to create a precedent that will criminalize the core function of investigative journalism because – even as they spent two years shrilly denouncing that most trivial “attacks on press freedom” – they don’t actually care about that value at all. They want to protect only the journalism that advances their political interests, while putting people behind bars who publish information that undermines their political interests. It is this authoritarian, noxious mentality that has united the worst elements of the Trump administration and the Democratic Party that pretends to find tyrannical actions objectionable but is often the leaders in defending them.”

    1. The husband beats the wife and the kids blame their mother. Trump charges Assange with “something” and some guy named Froomkin blames tyrannical Democrats. That’s pathology–not reason.

  5. “Ms. Jennifer Robinson on indictment against Mr. Julian Assange”

    “Anonymous Scandinavia

    “Published on Nov 16, 2018

    “Interview with Ms Jennifer Robinson at hosted by Ms Amy Goodman concerning sealed indictment against the founder of WikiLeaks, Mr. Julian Assange, – prepared by the U.S. Justice Department.”

        1. the guy made the point that wikileaks could have got the info from an intermediary who was feeding it from Russian hackers, yes of course that’s possible. it is possible in every scenario protected by the Pentagon Papers precedent.

          but what the democrats don’t like here is not that. if the Russians gave them info, they like it. No, it’s that Seth Rich was the whistleblower even if Assange won’t admit it, and it was squarely hillary’s fault for locking down the primary process in her favor. the Dems want to protect Hillary and intimidate all future Democrat dissenters. They want to lock up the whole left just as surely as Stalin did.

          That’s why liberal progressive leftists persist on this: they understand this is a matter of intellectual freedom on the left. Assange is critical for them to maintain a signficant ideological presence inside of the Dem party and the punishment of the Wikileaks leak by Seth Rich is cause number one for them.

          It also explains why the won’t let it die against Trump, because his people dared to even consider getting opposition research from Russians. Remmber, bloomberg says Hillary got her pee pee dossier “the legal way.” the Trump team was just “hamfisted”

          but they need to intimidate Trump and all challengers on the right, as well, from getting any help from foreign sources legal or not. that’s what that’s about, in terms of secondary targets outside the Dem party and its cadre, who are focus number one.

          1. Julian Assange tried to exploit the Vault 7/8 leaks to leverage a pardon, an Ambassadorship and a luxury D.C. hotel suite out of the Trump administration and the Trump organization. He used Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. to attempt to accomplish those ends. Trump, being Trump, told Sessions to go after Assange and “Lock him up.” Julian Assange is merely the latest in a long line of “contractors” to be stiffed by Trump. The Democrats have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the sealed criminal complaint against Assange. The pathology to the contrary is rapidly closing in upon irredeemable stupidity.

            Mueller should grant blanket immunity to Assange on the condition that Julian tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about each and every last thing about which Julian possesses knowledge. That’s what radical transparency would really look like. Unfortunately, Trump has State secret privilege. Do you think Trump would waive State secret privilege over the testimony of Julian Assange? No. Seriously. Do. You. Think. (“?”)

            1. L4Yoga/Annie/Inga enables David Benson, and the NPCs R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – do you have any proof that Julian worked as a contractor for Trump in any capacity? Any???? Any at all??? Do you????

              1. IIRC, Assange offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the presumed murderer of Seth Rich. The Seth Rich murder/leak conspiracy theory was first popularized by one Roger Stone. Roger Stone once claimed to have had contact with Julian Assange. Roger Stone is a lifelong friend of Trump’s.

                How’s your proof coming along, Don Pablo? Have you caught Seth Rich’s killer yet?

                1. L4Yoga/Annie/Inga enables David Benson, and the NPCs R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – that does not answer my question. You have avoided the issue completely.

                  1. Once upon a time, not all that long ago, there was a vaudeville act in which a ventriloquist and his dummy would sit still on stage for minutes on end with their mouths shut tightly not saying a word while a voice could be heard from off in the wings saying things that neither the ventriloquist nor his dummy had said because neither of their lips had started moving yet. Then the dummy would say, “I didn’t say that.” And the ventriloquist would say, “Well I didn’t say it, either.” And then they’d both clam up again while the voice could be heard off in the wings saying the same damned things all over again.

                    Are you following that, Ubi Pablito?

                    The ventriloquist is the GRU that has its arm up Julian Assange’s tuccus all the way to his vocal apparatus. And that makes Wikileaks the ventriloquist’s dummy. Meanwhile, the voice heard off in the wings was a pre-echo of Wikileaks’ release of the Podesta emails that got reported by Peter Schweitzer and Steve Bannon of Breitbart News and the Government Accountability Institute way far before The GRU started flapping Assange’s jaw so that Roger Stone and Dr. Jerome Corsi could claim that they had no foreknowledge of Wikileaks release of the Podesta emails other than what had been pre-echoed in Schwietzer and Bannon’s reports.

                    Are you still following that, Senor Eschoolbus? The cover story was prefabricated by the ventriloquist and its dummy, Assange.

                    1. L4Yoga/Annie/Inga enables David Benson, and the NPCs R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – I am not a fan of Julian, but he didn’t get those emails by himself. And he published them in reputable (at least for the left) newspapers.

                      You, on the other hand, have gone off the rails. Can you make a connection between Julian and the Russians? The government cannot because they never got to examine the servers. And when your password is obama2012 it is not hard to break in. That is just as bad as having password as your password. Gee, who do we know who did that and cannot follow directions?

                      Last place I worked that was brick-and-mortar, we were required to change our passwords every 30 days. We would be locked out of our computers if we did not. And you could not repeat a password.

                      Thanks you and R.I.P. Seth Rich.

  6. The DOJ can indict the revelatory, truthful and factual whistleblower, Julian Assange, while it ignores all the co-conspirators of the Obama Coup D’etat in America?

    To wit,

    Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Brennan, Clapper, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Obama et al.

    1. It’s ignoring something much worse…, but it’s only a matter of time before it comes to light.

    1. NR is full of crap. Assange is a much more persecuted journalist than the loudmouth Acosta.

      But looks who gets all the help.

      1. “NR is full of crap. Assange is a…persecuted journalist…”

        Right on the mark.

        If only American “journalists” were doing their jobs…

    2. Can you say anachronism?

      September 7, 2016 12:27 PM

      Wait, We All Trust Julian Assange Now? That Julian Assange?
      By Jim Geraghty

  7. If i try to post links this won’t go through.

    The sealed indictment was mentioned in 2011 by Straford. (Note: this far predates Russiagate.) A timeline of events can be found at @wikileaks.

    @SMaurizi has the FOIA information (such as it is, redacted, missing etc.) showing what the UK, Sweden and the US were doing to try and seize Assange. It definitely involves breaking the law by each govt. Before you reject this information, please note that this comes from the govt documents in question and thus the information is not a matter of opinion. It is their own documents.

    Consortium News has information on the current state of affairs. You will need to scroll down to the entry. @kimdotcom also has information.

    Glenn Greenwald has written on this subject and its implications for freedom of the press to expose govt. wrongdoing. Although you would never know this from the way most in the MSM want Assange killed and deliberately lie about his situation to the public, they would be effected as well.

    1. Hello Autumn! It’s good to hear from you, again. Maybe Assange will get immunity in exchange for “truthful testimony” about the whole blamed thing. Or not. He won’t get his pardon, that way. Nor his Ambassadorship. Nor his luxury D.C. hotel suite. Poor Julian got stiffed by Trump. Let’s blame Crooked H. Lock her up. Pshaw!

    2. Allow me to introduce you to Joseph Rago and the Clinton Body Count – What Really Happened.


      Joseph Rago –

      “Wall Street Journal Reporter Asks Russia For “Clinton Information” —-Turns Up DEAD 2 Days Later”

      “A Wall Street Journal Editor who was investigating how a Russian
      Pharmaceutical firm could have been purchased in 2014 by an American
      Pharmaceutical firm while Sanctions against Russia existed against such
      business transactions, has been found dead in his New York City
      apartment. The crux of the dead journalists investigation was how
      then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton influenced the transaction to be
      finalized, but only AFTER her husband Bill was paid $500,000 for giving
      a speech in Moscow.

      The Russia Consulate General’s office in New York City was contacted
      by Wall Street Journal reporter/editor Joseph Rago who requested a
      Thursday (20 July) in person interview with consular officials regarding
      an upcoming article he was preparing on Hillary Clinton and her links
      to Russia. Rago failed to attend the meeting and was later discovered
      dead in his apartment of as yet “unknown causes” just hours prior to
      this meeting occurring.”

  8. If Assange really started his company to shed light on corruption in business and government, then he should have no problems. He would have the goods on everybody, but he didn’t play that way did he? The power corrupted him, and he took orders or money that he should have never done. Now he’s got his back to the wall, and he’s got nothing to show or prove that he acted in good faith.

      1. We’re “conflicted”. It’s not the same thing as being “fake”. BTW, we have every reason to believe that this is Trump and Sessions (now Whitaker) going after Assange. IOW, Trump stiffs another “contractor”–Julian Assange. (Maybe Julian will flip on Roger Stone. Or not.)

    1. this is an old beef against assange and it really transcends whomever is in office.

      basically the entire military establishment hates the Pentagon Papers case ever since it came down. every DOJ is going to punish whistleblowers look at how Obama ratched that up.

      they almost have too; pentagon papers is a binding precedent but a dangerous one.

      In Israel i observe, there is no such freedom of the press where military things are concerned. it’s not possible in their strategic situation.

      all that said, I feel assange is treated very unfairly and should be given some kind of clemency
      the Dems would go nuts over that, of course

      1. You’re wrong. And the simple fact that you do not yet know that you’re wrong will never prove that you were ever right. Trump did this to Assange. And so did Sessions. And so will Whitaker. The real challenge for Team Trump is to keep Julian Assange from falling into Mueller’s hands. That, too, will be on Whitaker’s agenda. No plea-deal nor grant of immunity for Assange. Unless Mueller simply ignores Whitaker. Ha-ha! Hell hath no fury like a heroic whistleblowing pardon-seeker shake-down artist spurned.

  9. Julian Assange is obviously an exceptionally intelligent person motivated to advance humanity and the quality of life for all. To attack and persecute such a gifted individual suggests jealousy, fear, revenge, all the vices that reflect so poorly on political personalities.

  10. If the NYT is protected on First Amendment grounds from disclosing classified information in the Pentagon Papers case, why isn’t Assange protected from disclosing classified information given to him by Bradley Manning?

    1. Because Assange makes disclosures which are episodically inconvenient to the Democratic Party. The Sulzbergers don’t do that.

        1. The convergence of interests argument doesn’t fly with Wretched S. F.

          Trump would never order A.G. Sessions to file a sealed criminal complaint against “a contractor” who tried to shake Trump down for a pardon, an Ambassadorship and a luxury D.C. hotel suite. Crooked H. and her Democratic “cohorts” are the only ones who would ever stoop that low. Besides, there’s still a chance that Wretched S. F. will still get everything he ever wanted for Christmas from Santa Trump. Julian Assange–not so much.

      1. Tabby, the Bradley Manning hack wasn’t inconvenient to U.S. intelligence sources?

        Since when do conservatives applaud espionage that undermines the U.S. armed forces?

        1. Pentagon papers is a dangerous precedent. It is a delicate balance between military necessity and the press. In Israel I observe, they resolve that in favor of the state.

          but it’s the law in American and if it’s the law then it should be applied fairly and not just in favor of the NYT but other journalists as well

          Snowden, he’s a hero to me. Assange, maybe not a hero, but I admire him

    2. I wonder that too, Mr. Mespo727272! But what this says is that there is being created a two-tier Justice system. It is Justice for anyone against the Left, the Internationalists, the Globalists. “They” the Left are free to do anything they damn well-please! and conservatives need to shut their mouths because if anyone opposes “Da Left” he will be crucified. Our Government, our Bureaucracy, packed with Leftists and turncoats makes our government
      E-V-I-L. Let’s face it, America now has a two-tier justice system. They can destroy Confederate memorials. Antifa can attack with impunity. Democrats can pack elections and not obey laws. The Law is dead in this country.

      1. Good on you wlindseywheller, you classicist, you. If you ask embarrassing questions, you get embarrassing answers or you get silence and a course correction. Either way you win:

        “After much effort, as names, definitions, sights, and other data of sense, are brought into contact and friction one with another, in the course of scrutiny and kindly testing by men who proceed by question and answer without ill will, with a sudden flash there shines forth understanding about every problem, and an intelligence whose efforts reach the furthest limits of human powers.”
        ~The 7th Epistle

        1. Attorney General Sessions was not a Leftist trying to create a two-tier justice system that let’s Leftists off the hook for criminal behavior. It is almost certain that A.G. Sessions is the one who brought a sealed complaint against Julian Assange on account of Assange trying to exploit the Vault 7/8 leaks to wheedle a pardon, an Ambassadorship and a posh D.C. hotel suite out of Trump as payment for services rendered during the 2016 election. Or not. Either way, blaming the sealed complaint against Assange on Leftists is truly dim–as in the exact opposite of That Shining Light.

    1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

      Tech companies including Microsoft, Google, Apple and Samsung are facing a similar dilemma, after WikiLeaks published information allegedly showing that the CIA possesses hacking tools that can be used to exploit vulnerabilities in the products of those companies. As Motherboard reported, WikiLeaks approached those companies with an offer to share technical details about the CIA’s “Vault 7” hacking tools, but only if the companies meet WikiLeaks demands. That sounds a lot like holding files to ransom.

        1. Assange’s approach to the vulnerabilities of the tech companies at issue could be defensible as bug bounty hunting. Unfortunately, there’s some evidence of Assange using the Vault 7/8 vulnerabilitites to “wheedle” a pardon out of the Trump administration. Worse yet, Assange requested a luxury hotel suite in D.C. from Donald Trump Jr. as part of an Ambassadorship that Assange was also using the Vault 7/8 leaks to “finagle” out of the Trump Administration. Oh! And Roger Stone is all mixed up in the bidding for an Assange pardon, too. Remember: This is the Trump Justice Department, now.

          It’s beginning to look as though Julian Assange will become just another “contractor” stiffed by Trump. Let’s hope that there’s no blowback against Jason Leopold because of that woman (whose name I forget) who leaked the Suspicious Activity Reports from The Treasury Department. That really would infringe upon the freedom of the press.

          1. About that woman whose name I had forgotten: Natalie Mayflower Edwards is her name. She has not yet been indicted. The U.S. Attorney handling her case may be angling for a plea-deal with Edwards to testify against Jason Leopold who may have assisted Edwards in her keyword searches of FinCEN data banks related to a story Leopold reported about Prevezon Holdings. If that’s what’s going on with Edwards’ case, then it might set a precedent for charging Assange under a similar theory of either solicitation or conspiracy, as the case may be. The Trump Justice Department might need some cover to counter the notion that they targeted Assange for prosecution unfairly.

  11. How can it be a crime to report content obtained illegally by someone else? Can illegally obtained evidence be used in court? Suppose there were a trial. Could illegally obtained, hacked, emails be evidence?

    1. Generally speaking it is not a crime in the United States for a journalist to report hacked or leaked or otherwise stolen information. However, if the journalist “solicited” the stolen information, then it might be a crime in the United States. Even so, there would still be a problem with such a prosecution; namely, whether the government could, in the future, going forward, use such solicitation charges against journalists to compel those journalists to reveal their sources for the stolen information, at issue, even if, or when, that same information really “belongs” to We The People of The United States. IOW, the threat to journalists might also become a threat to the people to shut down all of the leaky sieves up in the U.S. government.

      Something tells me Trump might like that at least until in redounded to someone else’s benefit.

    1. “The First Amendment would not protect him against knowingly receiving stolen property or conspiring with the actual thief.”
      It did for the NYT and Daniel Ellsberg.

  12. Shameful treatment for a brave whistleblower.
    He is being targeted because his news outlet embarrassed many high level politicians and government officials.

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