Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s defense team announced Thursday that they will seek asylum for their client in France, The Associated Press reported.
Assange, who was charged with spying, faces a trial for extradition to the U.S. that begins next week. The defense team spoke at a Paris news conference, arguing that the case against him is unfair, aggravating his poor health and violating his rights.
“We consider the situation is sufficiently serious that our duty is to talk about it” with President Emmanuel Macron, French lawyer Eric Dupont-Moretti said, according to the AP.
The attorneys also warned that if the U.S.’s extradition case is successful it could have “consequences for all journalists.”
The legal team is developing a “concrete demand” for the French president to consider giving Assange asylum in a country where he has children, the AP reported.
Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish coordinator on the team, confirmed that the lawyers will argue that President Trump’s administration offered Assange a pardon if he showed proof that Russia was not involved in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email.
Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, denied Wednesday that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) had offered Assange a pardon at the president’s behest.
“The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman,” she said in a statement. “He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie.”
Assange spent seven years in Ecuador’s London embassy before he was kicked out and arrested by British police for missing bail.
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