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US considers plea deal for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Chris Strohm and Katharine Gemmell, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

The U.S. government has submitted assurances that would pave the way for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition while it considers a possible plea deal.

U.S. officials are considering a request from the Australian government to strike a deal with Assange under which he would enter a felony guilty plea, according to a person familiar with the matter. The deliberations come just as the U.S. government submitted assurances demanded by a London court that would end all Assange’s appeal routes.

Such a deal might then allow Assange to return directly to Australia, said the person, who asked to not be identified discussing a sensitive matter. President Joe Biden told reporters last week that the government was considering a request by the Australian government to drop the case and allow him to go back to his home country of Australia.

Two London judges ruled in March that Assange couldn’t proceed with an extradition appeal if the U.S. offered up “satisfactory assurances” over his First Amendment rights, given he is an Australian national. The U.S. government submitted assurances, according to a statement from his wife, Stella, on Tuesday. There will now be a hearing on May 20 to further test those promises.

“The Biden Administration must drop this dangerous prosecution before it is too late,” Stella Assange said.


The 52-year-old has been in prison or in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, as he fought attempts to send him to face criminal charges first in Sweden and then in the U.S. The Swedish case against him was dropped, but the U.S. government in 2019 charged him under spying laws for his role in releasing hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents via WikiLeaks, with the help of U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

The Department of Justice declined to comment.


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