Snowden: 'Ultimate goal' is return to US, but wants 'fair trial'

Snowden: 'Ultimate goal' is return to US, but wants 'fair trial'
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Edward Snowden said on Monday that his goal is to return home to the U.S., but not until officials agree to terms he considers necessary for a “fair trial.”

“I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal. But if I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense,” Snowden told "CBS This Morning."

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The former intelligence analyst, who leaked information about National Security Agency surveillance programs, said he’s not asking for a “parade” or a pardon but that he won’t return from Russia until U.S. officials agree to open the courtroom he would be tried in to the public and allow a jury to consider his motives. 

“What I'm asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require. We don't want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong. The government wants to have a different kind of trial,” he said. 

“They want to use special procedures, they want to be able to close the courtroom, they want the public not to be able to go, know what's going on,” he added. 

The biggest “point of contention,” Snowden said, is whether a jury can consider “why I did what I did.” 

“Was it better for the United States? Did it benefit us or did it cause harm?” he said. “They don't want the jury to consider that at all. They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong. And I'm sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial.”

Snowden is promoting his new memoir, "Permanent Record," which is set to be published on Tuesday.