The sixth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates at this thread.
Yesterday, Assange extradition hearing resumed with testimony from US lawyer Eric Lewis. I paid particular attention to European Court of Human Rights decision that prosecutor seized upon to argue abusive prison conditions shouldn't prevent extradition. shadowproof.com/2020/09/14/at-…
Eric Lewis suggested in his testimony that Assange would be held at Alexandria Detention Center before trial if he were brought to the United States. He'd be in conditions that were "tantamount to solitary confinement," like alleged Russian spy Maria Butina.
Chelsea Manning was confined at the Alexandria Detention Center while she was held in contempt by a federal court because she refused to testify before a grand jury empaneled to destroy WikiLeaks. #Assange
Court is in session. Eric Lewis takes responsibility for the Fox News video that played yesterday during proceedings. And James Lewis is resuming his cross-exam from yesterday that was abruptly ended by tech problems. #Assange
James Lewis is walking Eric Lewis through the ECHR decision in the Ahmad (and others) case. He especially notes the sections on solitary confinement that show the court considered the issue, though they rejected appeals against extradition in 2012. #Assange
James Lewis accuses Eric Lewis of "fishing" for material to help him ignore Ahmad case.

Eric Lewis replies, "If I were fishing, there are some large fish in there that convinces me that there is greater and greater data," that appreciates impact of solitary. #Assange
Eric Lewis makes clear that he agrees with Assange's legal team. It is likely government would incarcerate Assange at ADX Florence, a supermax prison, after trial.
James Lewis refers to Cunningham v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, which was a class action lawsuit that ended in settlement and challenged the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners with mental illness at ADX Florence #Assange
James Lewis asks Eric Lewis to concede treatment has gotten better for prisoners with mental illness at ADX Florence after the settlement.

Eric Lewis replies it's improved in certain ways and in certain ways it has gotten worse. #Assange
James Lewis asks Eric Lewis about the COVID-19 pandemic. He doubts it would pose any threat to Assange if brought to the Alexandria Detention Center, highlights few number of cases at the facility.
Eric Lewis, who believes Assange would likely be confined at the Alexendria Detention Center before trial, says 12 percent of federal population has COVID-19. "If he is convicted and sent elsewhere," virus would be more of threat #Assange
Eric Lewis' position: "If Mr. Assange received the full sentence [175 years], and received a credit for good behavior for each year, his sentence would still be far more than 100 years in federal prison."
James Lewis mentioned federal prison sentence against CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted of Espionage Act offenses. Said Sterling was charged with handing over classified letters/plans from CIA program targeting Iran to journo, which was never proven. #Assange
James Lewis refers to the sentencing of FBI whistleblower Terry Albury. He then moves on to the sentence that was issued against NSA whistleblower Reality Winner. Both pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act. He notes Winner faced longest sentence - 63 months. #Assange
Re: Albury and Winner

James Lewis emphasizes federal judges have discretion and will use rigorous procedure to issue fair and independent sentence. But Eric Lewis appears to believe Assange faces a case that is far more complex.
Comment: Much of US prosecution's case against Julian Assange depends on deluding courts into believing this is not unprecedented, and judges in US have reviewed cases like this before and handled them fairly. (1/2)
Comment: Directly comparing indictment against Assange to how Espionage Act cases against Albury, Sterling, or Winner unfolded creates the false perception that they are comparable. I think case against Assange represents a new kind of case for Justice Dept prosecutions. (2/2)
In regard to First Amendment, James Lewis says it's your position that the US Constitution precludes prosecution.

Eric Lewis: Yes, no such thing as a successful prosecution of publisher [in US history] #Assange
James Lewis, lead prosecutor: to Eric Lewis: "I challenge you to provide to this court one single precedent that says publishers cannot be prosecuted." #Assange
It is very difficult to understand Eric Lewis and the court has not paused to help him fix his settings so we can understand the testimony he is giving over a video link. So, bear with me. I'll go back and share quotes from this section at next break. #Assange
James Lewis: "Is it correct the US Supreme Court has never held that the First Amendment precludes the government from prosecuting third parties, including journalists, for publishing national defense information?" #Assange
Eric Lewis says when Jeff Sessions was Attorney General he pressured the EDVA to indict Assange.

"I am only saying that the Justice Department has been highly politicized, and I think very few Americans would question that presumption."
Eric Lewis' testimony spotlights Trump's shifting view toward WikiLeaks depending on politics. In 2010, favored death penalty for Assange. In 2016, he loved WikiLeaks, as Clinton campaign emails were published. In 2019, as Assange was indicted, "I know nothing about WikiLeaks."
James Lewis wraps. He was well into the fourth hour of cross-examining Eric Lewis. Ed Fitzgerald is now re-examining for Assange's legal team.
Eric Lewis highlights 2018 Barr memo outlining Attorney General's view that "full measure of law enforcement authority is placed in President's hands, and no limit is placed on the kinds of cases subject to his control and supervision." AG and DOJ lawyers are "his hand." #Assange
This comes up again in Eric Lewis' testimony #Assange
We're on lunch break until 2 pm. Plan is to wrap with Eric Lewis, and then US defense attorney Tom Durkin will testify. #Assange
Edward Fitzgerald goes over issue of sentencing with Eric Lewis meticulously. They use sentencing table to show how prosecutors could add enhancement to sentence, which would result in possible 175-year sentence. #Assange
Eric Lewis: "If defendant was organizer or leader of criminal activity that involved 5 or more participants that was otherwise expensive," can add adjustment.

Would take to over 12 years.
Eric Lewis: "With respect to 'Teenager,' [or Siggi], whose age seems relevant in that, you add two levels if minor under age of 18 is involved in the offense."

Would take to over 15 years. #Assange
Eric Lewis says is adjustment for people with "special abilities that help them commit the crime."

"I would think that Mr Assange’s technical proficiency would be
adjustment."

Would take to over 19 years.
Eric Lewis further suggested enhancement could be added for obstruction, or eluding investigators of the alleged crimes. They could also add enhancement for alleged victims of disclosures of information who were government employees. #Assange
Tom Durkin, a US defense attorney who has practiced law for 47 years, takes the proverbial witness stand in Assange extradition hearing #AssangeTrial
Fitzgerald begins by asking about the difficulties Assange would have preparing or engaging in his defense.

Durkin agreed Assange would not know what his lawyers learn on discovery from classified evidence.
Fitzgerald goes over the scale of sentence Assange might face (somewhat similar to what he did with Eric Lewis).

If convicted on all counts, Durkin said he'd be looking at possibly a 30 or 40-year sentence.
Durkin said conduct alleged against Assange, which he was acquitted of committing, could still be raised in aggravation to increase his sentence.
Durkin describes the "trial tax," which is the built-in incentive to plead guilty in the sentencing guidelines. "You get penalized for going to trial."

And a defendant may also plea to reduce their exposure to lengthy sentence. #Assange
Like multiple other witnesses, Durkin agrees that "political considerations" influenced the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange
There is a problem with Durkin's connection. It would be constructive if the court would help him troubleshoot, but this is the second time his internet has had a problem and all Baraitser seems to care about is that it isn't court that is having malfunctions #Assange
Durkin has switched to a different computer and hopes it will help #Assange
James Lewis, prosecutor, starts cross-exam with Durkin, and Durkin says, "I don’t believe he would be able to get what I would consider to be a fair trial in the United States." #Assange
James Lewis insisted Durkin could not possibly know for certain that Assange case would have unprecedented amount of discovery materials.

[I'll add Chelsea Manning's discovery evidence was massive.]
Asked about the assertion that Obama admin declined to prosecute Assange, Durkin said he doesn't "lend a lot of credence" to Kromberg saying there was still ongoing grand jury. In fact, what we know suggests case was probably declined at some point.
James Lewis asked Durkin if he could share how much the defense paid him.

Durkin: "Only if the judge will redact it so my other clients can't see what I accepted."

Laughter ensued #Assange
We've spent lot of time going over whether reporting on Obama admin and potential prosecution of Assange was credible or not.

Durkin said, "Not uncommon for Justice Dept to want to get certain positions out into press that they might otherwise not want to have to disclose."
Durkin continued — and this was during redirect with Fitzgerald:

"Not uncommon for leaks to occur, and if government doesn’t like the way reports are coming out, they will see to it that other leaks get made that can correct that." #Assange
Tomorrow we expect to hear from John Goetz, investigative journalist who was with Der Spiegel and worked on publications. We should also get to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg's testimony. #Assange
Here's video report for Day 6 of Assange's extradition hearing #AssangeTrial
Two US defense attorneys testified at Julian Assange's extradition trial and detailed how he could effectively spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of all offenses shadowproof.com/2020/09/15/wit… #AssangeCase

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More from @kgosztola

18 Sep
The ninth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I won't have live updates at this thread at the moment because the court's Crime Deputy Service Manager did not admit me this morning.
Constant glitches have existed in the system, and when I logged on the cloud video platform at the same time I do every morning, my name did not appear. I was hearing a repeated message that the host had not joined. Another journalist informed me they could not see me. #Assange
When I contacted the Crime Deputy Service Manager to let them know that I had an issue this morning, they said the rule is the rule. There was nothing I could say to persuade them to allow me morning access. I will miss this morning's witness. #Assange
Read 73 tweets
17 Sep
The eighth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates at this thread. #AssangeTrial
Yesterday, Pentagon Papers whistleblower @DanielEllsberg testified and exploded several myths about Assange and WikiLeaks, as well as his whistleblowing.

These myths are frequently deployed to make Assange and WL seem different than Ellsberg.

Report:
shadowproof.com/2020/09/16/pen…
Professor John Sloboda, who co-founded Iraq Body Count, takes the proverbial witness stand.

The Iraq Body Count project closely analyzed the Iraq War Logs. #Assange
Read 48 tweets
16 Sep
Housekeeping note: If you go to dissenter.substack.com/subscribe and sign up, you can receive my daily written reports in your email inbox each day of #AssangeTrial.
On Day 6, court heard from US defense attorney Eric Lewis about "substantial pressure" Assange will face to "plead guilty to lesser charges that result in a lower sentence." US has system where few defendants exercise right to trial.

More: shadowproof.com/2020/09/15/wit…
John Goetz, investigative journalist who was with Der Spiegel and worked on publications in 2010-2011, takes the proverbial witness stand. #Assange
Read 63 tweets
14 Sep
The fifth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates at this thread.
Eric Lewis, who is a practicing lawyer in United States knowledgeable on trial and sentencing issues, is expected to take witness stand. He'll testify on the ways the legal team believes Assange would be "exposed to flagrant denial of justice" if put on trial in US.
Lewis' testimony will likely return to the issue of Trump administration retaliation against the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is investigating US torture and war crimes, and how that connects to #AssangeCase
Read 43 tweets
13 Sep
In documentary from German public TV, former CIA director Leon Panetta acts as a public face for the US prosecution against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The CIA has been possibly the most aggressive agency in the war on WikiLeaks.
ardmediathek.de/ard/video/Y3Jp…
Leon Panetta: “You have to remember that throughout the history of this country we have had spies, and we’ve prosecuted spies. I think it was in that spirit that everybody said, okay, we have another spy—Assange.”
Leon Panetta: "Assange is somebody who will sell somebody in his family if he think that, you know, that he is going to get some attention.”

(This is the kind of comment that legal team can cite in their argument that this is political prosecution.)
Read 6 tweets
10 Sep
The fourth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates at this thread.
Yesterday, the legal team called Paul Rogers, a peace studies professor at Bradford University, to testify on how prosecution has targeted Assange for his political opinions.

One political opinion highlighted:

"...if wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth."
Also, on Day 3, defense witness Trevor Timm called attention to what New York Times Washington bureau chief Max Frankel declared about the role of "secrets" in his affidavit to federal court in Pentagon Papers case. #Assange
Read 24 tweets

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