Though Sweden dropped an investigation into rape allegations against Julian Assange, “I can conclude, based on the evidence, that probable cause for this crime still exists,” chief prosecutor Marianne Ny told reporters in Stockholm. An anonymous reader quotes Newsweek:
Ny stressed in her statement Friday that the investigation could be reopened before the statute of limitations on the case expires in 2020. If Assange “went into British custody, then the Swedes may well revisit their decision â¦ as extradition is suddenly easier”, tweeted legal expert David Allen Green. Assange failed to answer a bail hearing when he took refuge in the embassy, resulting in an active warrant for his arrest by London’s Metropolitan Police, punishable by up to a year in prison. Foremost of Assange’s concerns is possible extradition to the U.S., where he he could be detained on espionage charges… Ecuador has offered Assange asylum should he be able to leave Britain.
Meanwhile, The Chicago Tribune reports that “a federal inquiry is widely assumed to be underway by prosecutors in Virginia.”
According to a former senior Justice Department official, who requested anonymity to discuss the Assange case, American authorities are now presented with a “cat and mouse game.” “The decision on whether to indict him rests largely on whether they can get their hands on him,” the former official said. Indicting the head of an organization such as WikiLeaks presents a huge number of First Amendment issues, but the Trump White House has indicated such issues may be less of a hurdle than during previous administrations. Prosecutors could seek a sealed indictment — or may have one already — to be unveiled if and when Assange strays within reach of American law enforcement, the former official said.
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