Assange attorney: Secret grand jury meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks
Couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy…
London (CNN) — A secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is meeting to consider criminal charges in the WikiLeaks case, an attorney for the site’s founder, Julian Assange, told the Al-Jazeera network in an interview.
“We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria. … They are currently investigating this,” Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera’s Sir David Frost on Sunday, referring to WikiLeaks. The site, which facilitates the disclosure of secret information, has been slowly releasing a trove of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables since November 28.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that he had authorized “significant” actions related to a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks’ publication of the cables but has declined to elaborate.
Assange is sought for questioning in connection with allegations of sexual assault in Sweden. He surrendered to British authorities last week.
“I think that the Americans are much more interested in terms of the WikiLeaks aspect of this,” Stephens told Al-Jazeera. He said it was his understanding that Swedish authorities have said that if Assange is extradited there, “they will defer their interest in him to the Americans. … It does seem to me that what we have here is nothing more than a holding charge.” The United States just wants Assange detained, he said, so “ultimately they can get their mitts on him.”
“He is entitled under international law, under Swedish law, to know the charges or the investigation that’s going on, the allegations made against him and the nature of the evidence which is said to support it,” Stephens said. “As I sit here talking to you now, he hasn’t that that information, so he’s not been able to comprehensively rebut (the allegations).”