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The first day of trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing will begin at the top of the hour. I’ll have live updates at this thread when it begins.
We're still waiting to begin. Apparently, the temperature in Court No. 10 at the Old Bailey is too hot. Wonder if this will be a problem throughout the day that Assange must deal with while trying to follow proceedings.
"Court No. 10 here. Would it be possible to bring up Mr. Assange?"
Judge Baraitser is in court. While waiting for Assange to be brought into the room, she confirms Assange was arrested pursuant to 2nd superseding indictment.
Assange confirms name and date of birth. Old extradition request is withdrawn. Assange has not been able to see the warrant that he was served with, according to defense. Prosecution says Assange was served papers this morning
We're dealing with formalities because, flouting US-UK extradition treaty guidelines, the US government issued a superseding indictment mid-process, expanded narrative details, and forced the court to re-arrest Assange. They should've done back in June but had not until today.
Fitzgerald, Assange's lawyer, informs the court he has seen Assange for the first time in six months.
Prosecution: Are you prepared to consent to be extradited?

Assange: No

(Again, going over formalities we should've been done with months ago.)
We're going through housekeeping items. Baraitser ruled that 40 applicants for remote video access were excluded. We have no idea who these people were. It's claimed court administration granted access in error to these individuals. #Assange
Another housekeeping item is how testimony will be taken from witnesses and how lawyers will interact with witnesses before and during proceedings. #Assange
Fitzgerald says having factual witnesses summarize evidence before cross-examination benefits Assange who has had difficulty accessing this information prior to these proceedings
James Lewis (prosecution) says defense is trying to qualify witnesses who are not really experts. For example, Professor Mark Feldstein, he says, just wants to speak about Trump's "war on journalism" and he does not accept that. #Assange
Fitzgerald complains to the court, rejecting Lewis' suggestion that witnesses shouldn't spend hour or more going over basis of their opinions. (Prosecution and judge seems to favor submission of statements without those being read or summarized by witnesses publicly.) #Assange
Baraitser: In my view there is no benefit whatsoever in counsel taking witnesses through their statements. They attend court not to repeat evidence but to be tested and challenged on what they've said. But they may have up to 30 min to prepare for proceedings. #Assange
Assange's legal team is challenging whether the US government can seek extradition pursuant to new allegations in the latest indictment.
According to defense, "US have offered no explanation for absence of these allegations from first (or even second) indictment, where allegations date from 2009 and could have been prosecuted at any time in the last decade, including prior to emergence of Swedish proceedings."
Add: "Neither has there even been explanation for why, in context of these proceedings extant since April 2019, these materials arrive year and half after their commencement, 6 months after opening submissions, and days prior to [trial portion of extradition hearing]." #Assange
We are breaking for about an hour so Assange can meet in person with his legal team. He has had very limited access to his attorneys during the past 1-2 years.
Court is back from break. We will begin with the defense requesting that the court remove conduct, or fresh allegations, from the new indictment that seems entirely unconnected to publication of Chelsea Manning's disclosures. #Assange
Mark Summers, Assange lawyer, is going over the procedural history of the three indictments.

24 June - US issued press release signaling new superseding indictment

2 July - US served new indictment on defense but not court

12 August - US issued fresh extradition request
Defense says prosecutors notified in opening note that it had not merely added "narrative details." They believe two general allegations bolstered by new indictment could support extradition without proving conduct relating to Manning was criminal (or extraditable). #Assange
We have first mention of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden by Mark Summers.

"Assisting a whistleblower in Hong Kong; attempting to evade arrest.
How that is said to be criminal activity is anybody’s guess." #Assange
Summers: Issues surrounding sources, including
how Sabu came to be cooperating with the FBI #Assange
Summers: US request fails to disclose in 2012 "based on ‘Sabu’s cooperation, ‘Topiary’ (Jake Davis) and ‘Kalya’ (Ryan Ackroyd) were prosecuted in connection with their alleged involvement with LulzSec, before Southwark Crown Court."

Adds: "The forum bar is obviously engaged."
Summers mentions Jeremy Hammond and contempt proceedings before the grand jury into WikiLeaks. Then goes on to mention "Teenager," or Siggi, known to US well before now. Was convicted in Iceland of fraud, theft, and impersonation of Assange
Summers presents the legal argument that supports the court removing conduct from this fresh extradition request that fundamentally alters the prosecution when compared to how Assange's legal team previously understood it
Reiterating request to remove conduct, Summers declares, "What’s happening here is abnormal, unfair, and liable to create real injustice if allowed to continue." #Assange
Summers points out to court that when defense argues it was necessary for Assange to publish evidence of war crimes the prosecution replies, well, it was not necessary to hack into a bank in Iceland. That is how they are wielding these fresh allegations.
Prosecutor (I'm not familiar with this person) insists there is nothing improper with serving a new indictment "under cover of a further request" before merits phase of extradition case #Assange
Prosecutor maintains Judge Baraitser must consider "statutory schemes" before it can exercise power to remove conduct from fresh extradition request #Assange
I can barely understand this argument, especially because of the cadence of this lawyer's voice. He keeps emphasizing syllables and varying volume in ways that stab your ears and make it hard to follow the thread. #Assange
Prosecutor is very deep in the weeds of UK law. I am unfamiliar with these citations, but they believe it shows the defense is asking Judge Baraitser to do something she does not have the power to do. #Assange
Prosecution says Assange can seek more time. But he hasn't.
Summers on rebuttal: "Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong." #Assange
Summers: What we are saying is it’s unfair to [issue new extradition request] 6 weeks before extradition hearing is listed #Assange
Summers: The prosecutor (Mr. Smith) is saying, haha, this is what we’re doing and you can’t stop us. But in truth, the court has power to remove conduct.
Judge Baraitser denies the request to remove conduct from fresh extradition request. Says she offered Assange's legal team opportunity to adjourn and have more time to prepare. She realizes Assange is in jail, but this was way to address any "unfairness."
Court is adjourning for lunch and then during the afternoon the first witness will be called. #Assange
In 30 minutes, we will hear from the first witness: Professor Mark Feldstein, academic who the defense says "specializes" in broadcast journalism. We can expect him to put the prosecution in context of President Trump's record of attacks on the press #Assange
Assange's legal team asks the court for adjournment in order to enable the team to gather evidence to deal with fresh allegations that have emerged.
Summers says court does not take this action lightly, given that Assange will bear the burden
Summers is concerned Judge Baraitser would rule without defense evidence. They need time to respond to a case that has emerged in past weeks, and it's only made worse by COVID-19 conditions #Assange
Summers again says in light of the ruling they request adjournment and point out that when the opportunity came in August to request adjournment Assange had not seen request and there was no chance for consultation
Assange is still missing important accompanying papers that should have been with fresh extradition request, Summers says
Summers believed they were entitled to apply for removal of conduct before pursuing adjournment. So, that's what they apply for at this stage #Assange
Baraitser asks if the legal team is able to speak to Assange by telephone.

Summers says they are able to make phone calls, but they're short.
Summers: Assange phones in on the pay phone to somebody's mobile phone and people have to strain to listen. Experience is we can't hear and he can't hear us.
Baraitser: How long is the adjournment likely to be?

Summers thinks it would take until January. #Assange
James Lewis says it doesn't seem like adjournment is genuine, since he made an application to the court to remove conduct and lost. #Assange
Lewis, prosecutor, adds that the prosecution is here and ready to go. For example, he doesn't see how cross-examining the witness scheduled for today would be affected by the fresh extradition request #Assange
Baraitser is taking ten minutes to decide whether to grant adjournment. To be clear, Assange supports adjournment and the legal team would not be prolonging his time in confinement if he did not feel this was best for dealing with developments in past several weeks.
We're witnessing how developments in the case can instantaneously become issues for appeal. This ruling on adjournment will be an important ruling. #Assange
Judge denies application for adjournment. She contends it was inappropriate for Assange's legal team to try and have conduct removed from fresh extradition request and then — upon losing in court — apply for adjournment.
Professor Mark Feldstein, academic well-versed in broadcast journalism, is taking the proverbial witness stand. Which in the era of COVID means he's appearing via video #Assange
Court technology is not working. This wouldn't be a problem if the judge hadn't railroaded the defense moments ago. We'd be adjourned. #Assange
Mark Feldstein is giving testimony. He specializes in journalism history. He's testified in criminal and civil cases and before Congress. He is speaking about the way in which U.S. government officials leak classified info "with abandon." #Assange
Defense: When in receipt of classified info in US, are you aware of examples of press proceeding to publish that material?

Feldstein: Yes. Daily occurrence. Thousands upon thousands was estimate given by one academic study. #Assange
Defense: If this were happening on a daily basis and were criminal, would you expect publishers to be prosecuted?

Feldstein: No - First Amendment protects the free press. It is vital to be able to expose inner workings. Citizenry has right to know. #Assange
Defense: Aware of any publisher in US ever having been indicted?

Feldstein: That has never happened. Always been the source-distributor divide. Prosecute sources who leak but because of 1st Amdt never charged publisher #Assange
Defense: Presidents have gone after journalists but never to the point of grand jury returning charges?

Feldstein: That's correct. #Assange
More problems with court technology. #Assange
I'm about to exit court proceedings for the day and do a video report. This doesn't seem to be going anywhere #Assange
Court is done for the day. I'll have a live video report shortly that you can watch here:

Judge railroads Assange as legal team objects to fresh extradition request:…
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