UK judge denies Assange bid to delay extradition hearing

UK judge denies Assange bid to delay extradition hearing
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A British judge on Monday denied a bid by WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeFBI releases documents showing Roger Stone, Julian Assange communications Judge orders Chelsea Manning's release from jail Lawyers: Chelsea Manning recovering after suicide attempt MORE’s lawyers to delay his extradition hearing, The Associated Press reported.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser declined to postpone a scheduled February hearing regarding Assange’s potential extradition to the U.S. on espionage charges, according to the AP. His attorneys were pushing for a three-month delay of those hearings.

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Assange argued that the delay is necessary because the proceedings are not “equitable,” saying he faces the “unlimited resources” of the U.S. government.

“They have all the advantages," he told Baraitser.

Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers argued additional time was necessary due to the complexity of the case. Assange is accused of collaborating with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth ManningOvernight Defense: National Guard activated to fight coronavirus | Pentagon 'fairly certain' North Korea has cases | General says Iran threat remains 'very high' after US strikes The Hill's Morning Report — Coronavirus tests a partisan Washington Judge orders Chelsea Manning's release from jail MORE to circumvent a password for a classified government computer.

“Our case will be that this is a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is legally unprecedented,” Summers said.

Summers also accused U.S. agencies of illegally spying on Assange while he lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

“The American state has been actively engaged in intruding into privileged discussions between Mr. Assange and his lawyers in the embassy, also unlawful copying of their telephones and computers [and] hooded men breaking into offices,” Summers said, although he did not offer evidence for the claim.

Summers said the case against Assange has been in the works since 2010 under then-President Obama but wasn't acted on until the Trump presidency as part of a more aggressive approach toward government whistleblowers, the AP reported.

Assange’s lawyers have also argued the five days slated for the extradition hearing will not be sufficient for the entire case to be heard. They are expected to ask for more time later, according to the AP.