Trevor Timm Co-Founder and Director of @FreedomofPress is now on the stand.
Timm: The Freedom of the Press Foundation advocates for strong press freedoms in the US.
Mark Summers for the Defence: are you familiar with the communications of journalists and their sources.
Timm says that he is and mentions the Pentagon Papers and says virtually all important publications contain classified information.
Timm: There are many instances where the US government has tried or considered charging a journalist or publisher with Espionage but never succeeded or proceeded with it including the Obama administration in this very case.
Timm says that Journalist are not passive in the gathering of information, they interact with sources, encourage them to give them information.
This case would criminalize this and would make every journalist who have received willingly or not confidential information.
Timm: This view is shared by first amendment experts and all major newspapers who, whether they agree with #Assange or not have published editorials that the precedent of this prosecution would create.
Summers: You deal with a secure submission system drop box. The indictment seem to suggest this is criminal. What is your view?
Timm: This is a common practice, in fact our foundation built an open source drop box which is used in over 80 major newspapers, some say leak to us.
Timm: News organizations advertise to target potential whistleblowers to leak to them. Including @Gizmodo and the @nytimes.
Summers: If I have said in 2009 that I was planning to build a secure drop box what would you have said.
Timm: I would have said that it was protected behaviour by the 1st amendment.
Timm explains that the "Most Wanted List" was a wiki, or collaboration from members of the public, activists, scholars, and so on.
Summers: Is the list criminal?
Timm: No.
Summers: Asks if Timm tweeted "If you have the CIA torture congressional report here is a link to sites that use secure drop."
Timm: yes. He says that he was not the only journalist doing this there were dozens of journalists doing it and that this is protected speech.
Lewis starts questions by asking Timm about his expertise and if they comply with the UK rules.
Timm: yes. He describes that he needs to be objective and truthful to the court.
Lewis: are you unbiased?
Timm: yes.
Lewis: have you contributed to Mr. Assange's case.
Timm: Yes we believe that his case is very important to press freedom, and we contributed to his defence.
Lewis: Do you feel threatened by the outcome of this case?
Timm: No I'm not a full time journalist, my concern is for investigative and national security journalists. I believe that this case could potentially hundreds of thousands of people including members of the public.
Lewis: In England must have no conflicts of interests to be an expert.
Timm: As a press freedom advocate I do have an interest in this and I believe all expert witnesses have an interest in involving themselves in a case.
Lewis: You do understand that Mr. Assange is not considered a journalist.
Timm: It doesn't matter that if the Government considers him a journalist or not, the 1st amendment protects all members of the public, and he was acting as a publisher.
Lewis: asks if he read the new bundle of papers, this is a problem that keeps on occurring. The prosecution gave this bundle to the defence on Monday, they have had no time to read this document. But they blame the defence for some awkward reason saying the docs were public.
Lewis just pointed out the last Kromberg affidavit on which the prosecution relies, was dated 2 September. Lewis is purposely deceiving the witness and the court saying the defence had the documents months ago.
Today the defence is kicking ass with its witnesses! Courageous people with principle not willing to be manipulated by a deceitful prosecution.
Lewis asks hypothetically if a journalist helps a gov employee to crack a password.
Timm: It's hard to answer hypotheticals in this case, even the government agrees that the cracking of the password was to help @xychelsea to be more anonymous. Protecting sources is paramount.
Lewis again asks about secret evidence that has obviously not been produced by the government hence the witness cannot know about.
Timm: The idea of who is or not a responsible journalist does not correlate with breaking the law or not. Whether this is illegal or not, first amendment scholars agree that #Assange's conduct is protected.
Lewis moves to talk about the publication of the entire trove of unreacted cables. [Which was, by the way already public when WL published]
Timm: The question before us is do we agree that #Assange's decision to publish was right or not, the question is whether it was legal. Cont
Timm: In my opinion and 1st amendment scholars it is not.
Are my tweets in a thread? Please DM me to let me know.
Lewis: why should your opinion be more important than a court?
Timm: My opinion is in line with previous court decisions.
Lewis your opinion is that it's perfectly legal publish names of people who could be harmed.
Timm: It is still to be proven that the documents lead to the harm of anyone. And 1st amendment does not balance between potential harm and right to speech.
Lewis Mr. Feldstein says it is wrong for journalists to publish names.
Timm says that it is not a matter of if the decision was right or not, it is if it is legal or not and in my view it is not for the government to decide on editorial decisions.
Timm: Explains his remark #Trump's war on journalism. He said that they count the threat the press, and on twitter he has done it over 2,200 times even calling them an enemy of the people. He has said in private comments relating to imprisoning journalists.
The defence is saying that the prosecution's hour is up. The prosecution argues that they should not be tied 1 hour to cross-examine the witness. He does not agree that he should be bounded and does not like to be interrupted in his cross-examination. Continued.
Baraitser says she understood that an agreement had been reached that the cross-examination would limit itself to an hour. She allowed this time that Lewis to continue, he said that he was done, and complained about being interrupted. They will ask discuss the matter later.
Lewis doesn't like to be interrupted, but he certainly likes to interrupt.
Summers aims to make a distinction between hacking a password for protecting a source or for getting information.
Timm says that he understands that the situation was that it was for helping to keep the source anonymous.
Timm: in general journalists argue the have a strong right to keep their sources anonymous and not revealed them even in court proceedings.
Timm: Receiving and having the documents are the vast majority of the charges indictments. Also, the communications with the source. All of these practices are every day journalistic practices.
Timm: I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this case would criminalize national security journalism.
Trevor Timm has ended his deposition.
Summers argues that it is a matter to the judge to decide the timing for interviewing witnesses. He says that if she imposes timings on the defence, it is only fair that the prosecution's times. Lewis argues that sometimes interviews take longer and sometime shorter.
Baraitser decided that she will impose time limits on both. Lewis complains, and interrupted the judge saying 'may I finish'. She says she will impose limits. Both parties will have to agree overnight, or she will impose them on her discretion.
Summers asks for more than half an hour for the witness tomorrow, Lewis says he will need the rest of the day. She decided not to give the defence more time and that she will evaluate Lewis' proposal in the morning.

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More from @jlpassarelli

7 Sep
Thread: September 7th 2020 - Day 1 of the #AssangeCase extradition hearing. As per followers requests I will be using this thread to report on the day’s event concerning the extradition hearing proceedings. Stay tuned for updates.

#FreeAssange #AssangeCase #SaveJulianAssange
#JulianAssange is going into this court without having seen his lawyers for six months, without having given access to a new indictment that was submitted to court 3 weeks ago, with serious physical pain and a psychiatric evaluation that says his mental health has deteriorated.
#JulianAssange will be “re-arrested” on new charges he hasn’t read or discussed with his lawyers, and that his defence has had three weeks to prepare for. The defence claimed in court that the prosecution is using this new extradition request for political purposes.
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