Extradition September hearing Day 4 Morning Session
On the video link.
Today’s witness is expected to be Eric
Lewis, a Washington, DC–based attorney with experience of national security cases in EDVA and complex cases with UK-US cross border implications.
His cross-examination is expected to take a full day.
I will refer to him as Eric, to avoid confusion with the Prosecution’s Lewis in Court
I have put in a request to see the defendant more often in order to establish
how he attempts to communicate with his lawyers,
how often
and whether it is successful.

Each day we are read a statement before joining the court hearing..
that includes advice that we will not be able to see the defendant at all times. However, on each day, we get a one to two second glimpse of him, once.
Stella & Jennifer are in court, as are Summers & Fitzgerald. Prosecution junior counsel is also there.
There is apparently a balcony which we can’t see and that is where John Shipton and Craig Murray are sitting.
The camera angle is a little wider ..
Joseph is there & Smith (Prosecution) also there. More people wearing masks & one of the court officials is wearing a face shield.
If they maintain this camera angle, we will get a one second glimpse of Julian behind the glass as he is walked in to his seat
Lewis too has arrived. It’s unclear whether Julian’s lawyers have seen him at all today. They had been seeing him from 10-10.30 but the judge asked if that could happen 9.30 - 10.
Kristinn in too
Judge in.
Waiting for Julian.
Julian in.
We were just given a look at Julian
They are discussing face masks.....
There have been difficulties getting masks for Julian
This is a problem Summers says when they are conferring with him
Eric Lewis has not been connected yet..
Julian wearing a heavier jacket and his hair is combed back showing all of his face
The judge has just asked that witnesses be told they can only drink clear liquids (Mr Timms was drinking coffee).
Back to the regular angle so less is visible.
Eric has appeared.
We can hear him.
Sound is terrible
He sounds underwater
Eric: it’s significant that JA was not indicted till 2018.
No publisher has ever been successfully prosecuted for publishing Nat Sec info.
The Justice Dept’s view was there was an impedement: “the lNYT problem”
The NYT
Sources named & unnamed in Justice Dept told a highly acclaimed journalist this is why they can’t prosecute, plus the Pentagon Papers court decision. Quotes Matthew Miller also.
Eric: Quotes Pompeo’s statements about JA & Wikileaks. Sessions then made clear it was a priority to arrest JA & pressured prosecutors in Virginia. He said he wanted him arrested a year before he was indicted.
Eric: first indictment was a response to that (& avoided the “NYT problem) & second indictment
makes clear the publishing of information is not a first amendment issue for this administration -17 Espionage charges reflects Barr’s view & is an abuse of federal law enforcement
Eric: The same facts have been there for years.
Kromberg knows no action was taken earlier & doesn’t explain why the same evidence now warranted the superseding indictment
Eric: Sarah Sanders Press Sec in a book said Obama did nothing we are the only administration taking this seriously.
JA will be imprisoned for life. Kromberg says 4-6 years. Going from 1 count to 18 counts.. if all goes brilliantly it would be 20 years so disingenuous of Kromberg
BUT most Espionage cases have got life or multiple life sentences. This indictment points to a very aggressive approach to sentencing - it will be many decades
Eric: he will be detained in the Alexandria prison, he will be in solitary (SAMs - special administrative measures), before and after conviction in Colorado in H Block. I have read prisoners try to talk thru the ventilation system & when he comes out for an hour he will be
Shackled & have no contact with other prisoners.
Eric: 2017 ICC investigation into US war crimes used Wikileaks docs, & anyone assisting the investigation had their assets blocked.
Fitzgerald has run out of time.
Lewis’ turn to cross examine: asks Eric to speak into mic.
Eric: I am being payed at legal aid rate as expert.
Lewis asks him about criminal procedure regarding experts.
Eric say understands he is to be unbiased & objective,
but not that he has to take into account all Kromberg said.
Lewis: you’ve made public statements against the extradition.
Eric: yes, before I was engaged as an expert.
Lewis: no conflict of interest?
Eric: arrived at my position by considering the facts.
Lewis asking why he didn’t include his statements to media.
Eric : anyone can
See that in a 5 min Google search
Lewis asking him about what equips him to comment of prison conditions. Asks him if he has any qualifications that equip him.
Eric: I’ve not been a prison warden, but I’ve taught the subject & have a degree in criminology.
Lewis: have you written any articles on prison conditions
That have been peer reviewed? No. Have you visited the Colorado prison? Yes. Have you represented anyone there? Yes one prisoner.
Lewis: so you don’t have expertise, you just have experience of one client
Eric: no I did observe prison conditions when I was there. My client was acquitted by jurors from the same pool that JA would be tried.
Eric: Not correct. It was Eastern District of Columbia not Virginia.
He was convicted of 4 counts only of material assistance to terrorism & sentenced to 22 years. No I would not call it a complete denial of justice. He was under SAMs. It created difficulties consulting him, so he was in remand for 3 years.
Lewis: Did it prevent you from spending many hours with him - repeats question though it has been answered, in a way as to elicit a different answer.
Eric: all our legal visits were recorded.
Lewis asks him about one of those convicted of planning the 9/11 attacks (got 20 years) & Maria Butina (very short sentence).
Lewis: you were asked about article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Fitzgerald interrupts to correct Lewis) when you deal with the case of Ahmed..
You say it is almost certain JA will be under SAMs. Tell us what the procedure is before someone is assigned
Eric: whether the prisoner is dangerous to others etc my experience is that national security inmates are held under SAMs.
Lewis challenges him about what he is reading from.
Eric: my statement (holds it up) Is that forbidden?
Lewis: I thought you were reading from something els
Lewis asks him about the different types of segregation.
Lewis says you agree there is no solitary under SAMs?
Eric: No, effectively, in the vernacular, it is solitary
It causes people to deteriorate markedly. There is a distinction between what is expressed in prison manuals & reality. I describe what I see.
Shit.
Good. Judge can’t hear either.
She asked him to repeat
Eric on conditions in prison for preparing defence:
Re visits: one room in use & if it was used you couldn’t visit.
Lewis: prisoners even subject to SAMs receive breaks..?
Eric: there is a break schedule but my & other colleagues experience is the breaks can only be in the middle of night. Who wants to get exercise at 3am, because that’s the only time he can be alone.
Judge: we will sever the link for 15 minutes as Lewis wants to talk about something re Eric.
Lewis: I am under a guillotine, I can’t control Eric. & You aren’t controlling him.
Wants an extension.
Judge:
No.
Lewis complaining.
Warns he is going to be strict with the witness.
Judge says he already has 4 hours.
He says he disagrees & court has to give cogent reasons😳
Judge & Lewis continuing to argue. Judge is extremely polite. Lewis insists he is being guillotined - by her.
Judge: there are 39 witnesses. I asked your views about how much time you required. That should be the end of the matter. Leaves court until they get Eric back.
Lewis: (apologises to judge) quotes Kromberg
Eric is sounding underwater again
Lewis: JA May be segregated if he is a risk to himself etc etc
Eric: AG can impose segregation
Lewis: Kromberg says there is no solitary at the prison
Eric: that’s purely semantic, in essence it is.
Lewis asking Eric which conditions JA fulfills .. says Eric’s opinion based on one client.
Eric says there are similar conditions in other prisons.
Lewis making a distinction between SAMs & Administrative segregation. All the complaints you have made have been put to the
European Court of HR & rejected.
Lewis is looking at the bundle sent this morning.
Lewis going thru this .. bundle. Eric trying to follow in a doc in front of him, Lewis saying he would be familiar with the subject.

Me: still, I find it strange someone would be cross examined with ref to a doc they have only just received.
Eric: SAMS make it difficult to prepare for a trial. The case Lewis is quoting is not a national security case.
And this case involves a mountain of (Wikileaks) documents so you can’t compare this case with others.
Lewis: I’m asking now about pre trial. Refers to bundle doc setting out submissions similar to JA.
Eric: can I take a moment to read it?
Eric: Mr Assange is not a Muslim, so that condition doesn’t apply ( he is reading still), it’s true he is entitled to one phone call a month... there is no discussion here about mental health which is pertinent to JA.
Not true says Lewis - reads from the bundle further along ... about this other prisoner’s mental health issues.
Me: I’m astonished at this. How is this a fair cross examination?
Lewis: do you agree with this finding? Reads. There is no risk of arbitrariness in setting conditions
Eric: no I don’t & gives reasons.
Eric doesn’t know what Lewis is referring to - we are jumping from a European Court decision & a High Court decision, between the new bundle &
and Eric’s statement.
All this is confusing for Eric, and me.
Lewis: what are the defence issues JA is raising in his trial.
Eric: I’m not his lawyer but ... starts answering
Lewis interrupts
Has he told you what his defence is?
Never spoken to him. The indictment accuses him of harming nat sec.
Lewis refers back to the Ahmed case - back to a different bundle - post trial conditions. Quotes statistics showing a very small number of prisoners held under SAMs.
Eric is trying to find what he is quoting.Eric quotes the Warden at Florence prison “ A fate worse than death”
Lewis: your allegation SAMs can’t be challenge. He did challenge & allegations were found to be unfounded by the European Court.
Eric quotes another decision pertinent to the same court JA would be held in where it is NOT permissible.
Lewis brings him back to .. his bundle.
Lewis : the ECourt takes into account the mental state of the prisoner when imposing conditions.
Eric, underwater: .. inaudible.... “things have changed since then”.
Lewis refers back to the bundle: “isolation is partial & relative..” one of the reasons quoted in decisions on
conditions is the fact that the prisoner was in a high security prison in the UK beforehand.
Eric: that was 2012 & things have changed.
Lewis asking Eric if he has any qualification to assess psychological state of JA & how he can make any assertion about his mental health.
Eric quotes professional/ academic/ expert sources he relied on in making his comments re mental health & impact of conditions.
Makes the point that he doesn’t refer to what prisons say about how they deal with the issue, he looks at what actually happens & its effect.
Lewis referring to something Eric only has in electronic form & trying to find. Lewis insisting he answer.
Eric asks for Lewis to be courteous. I don’t think it’s fair to deny me access to the document. Judge asks him to just listen to the question & answer it.
Lewis: there have
been 8 changes to conditions .. can you tell us what they are?
Are you or are you not an expert on mental health & prison conditions
Eric: I have practical knowledge but I’m not a psychiatrist or a warden. I’m an expert in the US prison system
Lewis: what changes were
implemented after 2008 (?). Eric rattles off a few, but makes the point they are really not all that important. It’s what actually happens to the prisoner.
Lewis asking him about how many levels there are in the classification system.
What is mental health level 1?
Eric: underwater.. answers.
Lewis: does the prison have a program for autism spectrum?
Eric:
THERE IS AN INTERRUPTION, CHAOS
Something is coming on over the videolink, sounds like a news report, judge has left, Eric has disappeared
It was booming into the Court. Seems no one had any idea where it was coming from. We have no sound now, just picture.
Judge is back but no sound
Judge walked out again but we didn’t hear what she said.presumably announced a lunch break
Apropos that earlier incident - something had taken over the sound system & a booming voice was talking about Wikileaks.
Lewis will resume his cross examination shortly.

I presume the techs are trying to find out how it is the sound system was taken over by what sounded like a loud, chaotic news report about Wikileaks
Some journalists have not made it back into the Observation room due it seems to tech difficulties. The host repeatedly asks them to turn off their cameras & mics & if they don’t comply or can’t for whatever reason, they are disconnected. There are usually around 20; now 11
The screen is split between the court room and another similar court room. Numerous individuals entering this other room. I understand a room such as this is used for members of the public of which there are two only I am told as the judge has reserved
the other 3 for VIPs but this is unconfirmed.
Also in a room such as this are the journalists at the Old Bailey watching on videolink.
We have lost the actual court room now. It seems the Mointors are testing the system.
Thanks @auerfeld confirming that is the overflow room for journos & public. Naomi can you confirm how many members of the public are permitted to enter?
@auerfeld confirms it is two or three.
I have been disconnected
Trying to reconnect. I’m in a virtual “lobby”, .. “waiting for the conference host to join”” so assume
We’re back. They are obviously having more tech problems.
Some journos can’t get back on the videolink
OMGoodness. Sound to & from Eric is so distorted he sounds like a character in a sci fi movie. Robotic.

Ok folks something very strange is happening.
Oh boy. Now I can hear Eric clearly, but they can’t hear him in court
Eric asking questions but they can’t hear him.
A host from a press room is telling him WE can all hear him but not the courtroom.
Fitzgerald talking with Robinson
Eric is in a suit. He is wearing glasses. He keeps asking if anyone can hear him. He is using AirPods & can hear the court. But THEY CANT HEAR YOU ERIC. I wish I could tell him to relax they are trying to sort themselves out.
Apparently they can hear Eric next door so they are decamping!
If the boot out the press next door...
Gone to black, so we don’t see the shambles
Still black.
I guess they have to transfer all those bundles next door.
Oops we’re back. If they have gone next door, it is indeed identical.
Eric can hear them. He is speaking loudly but they can’t hear him
He is asking if shouting helps
Now Eric has gone to black
Meanwhile in the court room, they are complaining about being hot
We have gone to black & the host/Monitor says an update will be provided in due course. They clearly can’t reestablish a workable connection between the witness & the court.
Still black. Others are asking on chat whether we are likely to continue today. No word yet.
Only 9 of us left in this virtual Observation room. I think there is one other virtual room, and then the press next door at the Old Bailey.
It’s almost 1am in Sydney. It’s easier to stay awake & stay focused when something is happening. Get more sugar MK.
Last message from the Host/Monitor was at 12.36: “awaiting update from court”.
This is clearly going to take longer than 3 weeks.
Wondering where Julian is now. Have they taken him away?
I was disconnected. Trying to get back in. The voice message is we are “waiting for the conference host to join”.
Disconnected again
Waiting for the conference host. Apparently.
I’m told it court has adjourned.
See you tomorrow.

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and **live tweeting**

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You can follow this thread, and quite a few others!
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