The US Department of Justice has inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court document which suggests the WikiLeaks founder may have been charged in secret.
A court filing from a prosecutor in Virginia in a case unrelated to Assange mentions his name twice.
The document, which urges a judge to keep the matter sealed, states that the charges “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition”.
The prosecutor later says that “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”.
SCOOP: US Department of Justice “accidentally” reveals existence of sealed charges (or a draft for them) against WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange in apparent cut-and-paste error in an unrelated case also at the Eastern District of Virginia. https://t.co/wrjlAbXk5Zpic.twitter.com/4UlB0c1SAX
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 16, 2018
WikiLeaks said on Twitter that it was an apparent “cut and paste” mistake. The Justice Department has said the filing was made in error.
Assange has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for over six years after the country granted him asylum as he tried to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Any arrest could have an impact on the investigation in the US into any ties between Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign.
To be clear, seems Freudian, it’s for a different completely unrelated case, every other page is not related to him, EDVA just appears to have assange on the mind when filing motions to seal and used his name
— Seamus Hughes (@SeamusHughes) November 16, 2018
The filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at George Washington University in Washington DC, who said on Twitter: “To be clear, seems Freudian, it’s for a different completely unrelated case, every other page is not related to him, EDVA just appears to have assange on the mind when filing motions to seal and used his name.”