The first hearing before the UK High Court of Justice in the US government's appeal in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition case will start shortly. I'm remotely observing.

Thread for updates on the "preliminary" appeal hearing.
This Assange appeal hearing is not the main appeal hearing. That will come later.

Today's hearing is on the two grounds for appeal that the High Court of Justice declined to grant the US government. Prosecutors will try to persuade the High Court they were wrong.
This hearing for the US will be focused on discrediting Professor Michael Kopelman, an experienced neuropsychiatrist who assessed Assange from May-December 2019.

It will also be about the US's view that the district judge gave too much weight to certain suicide risk evidence.
Here's a snippet from the appeal submission filed on behalf of the US government:

Because Assange went to "extraordinary and cunning lengths to avoid extradition" and demonstrated himself to be "sophisticated" in dealing with Ecuador...
...and because he was "adept" at operating in the "global arena" and "withstood seven years living in an embassy," claims around mental health as "bar to extradition must be approached with anxious scrutiny."

This represents the nastiness at the core of today's proceeding.
Court is in session. #AssangeHearing
We get a really clear shot of Julian Assange viewing the appeal hearing remotely from Belmarsh prison. He has glasses, a white long-sleeved dress shirt, a neck tie (that is not tied), and a face mask. #AssangeHearing
For the non-British audience, we've reached the stage of the case where judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys don the wigs. #AssangeHearing
Clair Dobbin, prosecutor, argues judge relied on a predicted assessment, which Dr. Fazel opposed. He believed risk of suicide could not be predicted beyond six months. #AssangeHearing
Dobbin highlights Assange seeking political asylum, contending it is evidence that should weigh against assessments of mental health #AssangeHearing
Dobbin: No diagnosis of being on autistic spectrum until these extradition proceedings #AssangeHearing
Dobbin raises the issue of Professor Kopelman "concealing" Assange's relationship with Stella Moris in Ecuador embassy and the fact that he had two children—something US is weaponizing against him #AssangeHearing
For reference, this is what Judge Vanessa Baraitser wrote about Professor Kopelman in her decision denying Assange's extradition to the United States.

And this is part of why the US seeks to disqualify Kopelman as impartial expert witness. #AssangeHearing
Dobbin argues that everything in Professor Kopelman's first report was misleading because it did not reflect Assange's relationship with Stella and that he fathered two children in the embassy. His additional reports shouldn't have incorporated evidence from it. #AssangeHearing
Judge asked Dobbin if there were "notes or some other sort of information to indicate where the relationship with Moris began and when the children were born."

Dobbin pointed to the 2nd report from Kopelman, where he mentioned because Stella Moris had gone public #AssangeHearing
Dobbin says Kopelman's explanation for why he left out Stella and the children "doesn’t really address or get to the guts of why he is willing to subjugate his duty to the interests of Mr Assange’s family" #AssangeHearing
Dobbin: Two experts [Blackwood and Fazel] were setting forward a basis for being cautious about some of the findings put forward by Professor Kopelman about Mr Assange’s worst clinical condition” #AssangeHearing
Dobbin: Neither Fazel nor Blackwood agreed with diagnosis that Assange was on autistic spectrum. #AssangeHearing
From the district judge's decision, here is why Baraitser preferred Kopelman over Blackwood.

His assessment was based upon "limited contact with Mr. Assange." #AssangeHearing
Dobbin notes the judge said the court wasn't misled by Kopelman because she didn't read his medical evidence until after she knew Assange had a partner and fathered children. (That's true.)
Dobbin insists judge should have interrogated why Kopelman was willing to mislead.

"Totality of reports just don’t support Assange being as ill [as she accepted]. And, "Judge didn’t appreciate the significance of the fact that Kopelman was willing to mislead." #AssangeHearing
Dobbin: Kopelman misleading was a "relatively minor matter" to judge. Supreme Court would disagree. #AssangeHearing
Lord Holroyde asks if the prosecution is asking the High Court to re-appraise the evidence in this case. And Dobbin says they are. #AssangeHearing
Edward Fitzgerald, who is part of Assange's legal team, now responding to the argument from Dobbin #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: "District judge is fully aware of the criticism and indeed endorses that there was a misleading statement" [from Kopelman]

But in light of overall evidence concluded he had not failed in his duty to the court #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald says he talked with Kopelman about the effect disclosure of the relationship and children would have on privacy and safety of Assange's family. They concluded it would be best to defer identifying until further legal advice could be obtained. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: [still re Kopelman] "No question of any tactical advantage being gained by this." And, "Simply a matter of concern for the human predicament." #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald notes UC Global. There was a "surveillance organization which was taking DNA from the baby’s nappy." They examined measures to either kidnap or poison" Assange. "Very real fears and concerns" #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: Kopelman set out all medical records one way or the other. He noted when Assange was not suicidal or at risk of self harm. But later noted when he deteriorated. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: Baraitser is the primary decision maker. We submit that no issue of law arises. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: Ultimate question - is evidence impartial?

“[Baraitser] gave a series of detailed reasons set out in [decision] as to why she found [Kopelman's] evidence to be soundly based and independent” #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: The idea that it would not have been fully disclosed when he came to court to give evidence is "laughable."

Who is the partner? Then Kopelman would answer. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald repeats several times that it can't be one lapse in judgment and all of an expert's evidence is treated as inadmissible or given no weight.

Plus, Baraitser found he misled the court and scrupulously assessed whether that made him unreliable. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald goes meticulously through the test that was applied to support judge's conclusion that Assange was at risk of suicide #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: Baraitser relied on Kopelman when accepting that suicide would not be a "rational decision." It would stem from his mental disorder. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: If the primary decision maker, having heard all the evidence, considers and weighs the pros and cons of the psychiatric evidence in a carefully detailed manner and comes to the conclusion, leaving out & omitting nothing..."where is the point of law?" #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald: "Where is the arguable point of principle? Where indeed is he basis for the reviewing court to say this is wrong?"

"This is not an arguable point." #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald says the prosecution's arguments are inconsistent with the Lauri Love case. #AssangeHearing
Dobbin is replying to the defense and says, to the idea that there was concern about the safety of Assange's family, that certainly went "by the wayside" for Assange when he published leaked information. #AssangeHearing
High Court rejects the request for a 4-day appeal hearing #AssangeHearing
Lord Holroyde and Dobbin have some back-and-forth on the matter of whether cross-appeal can be granted. He says the US appeal has to be dealt with first.
We've veered into other issues related to the upcoming appeal hearing that the High Court apparently wants to limit to 2 days but neither prosecution nor defense is in favor of that short amount of time. #AssangeHearing
Lord Holroyde says there will be a ruling on whether to allow the two grounds of appeal at 2pm London Time. Now adjourned. #AssangeHearing
Programming note: I'll wait for the decision from the High Court, and then after I'll have a live broadcast on today's Assange hearing.

You can tune in here:
Lord Holroyde is reading a decision. #AssangeHearing
Holroyde outlines procedural background leading up to the decision today, noting what grounds of appeal from the US were previously allowed #AssangeHearing
Holroyde is summarizing the evidence from Kopelman that was weighed by the district judge #AssangeHearing
Still summarizing what we heard in the hearing #AssangeHearing
Lord Holroyde in reading decision reconsiders and grants the two grounds of appeal related to neuropsychiatrist and risk of suicide that were previously rejected #AssangeHearing
The US has prevailed in this first hearing, and it seems will have an even wider ambit to challenge the district judge's decision against extraditing Assange - including by questioning facts that were weighed by the judge #AssangeHearing
Tentatively, the appeal hearing is scheduled for end of October. #AssangeHearing
Going live in the next few minutes with a report on the decision in this first appeal hearing in the Assange extradition case
Belmarsh took Assange away from the video link before he could talk with his defense team, which they had wanted to do. They did manage to get Belmarsh to bring him back. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald tells Assange in court that the ruling is preliminary. It's just arguable. It's not the end of the line. And the defense will be in touch about the implications of this decision. #AssangeHearing
Okay, we're not supposed to hear this, but the High Court isn't protecting this conversation. So I'll add that Assange tells Fitzgerald he doesn't understand. An expert witness has a legal obligation to protect people from harm, his children. #AssangeHearing
Fitzgerald replies that he is right that the rule has to be interpreted based on human rights. They have to worry about the "assurances" the US is offering. Both say goodbye, and that's all for today. #AssangeHearing
In collaboration with @MElmaazi, here's a report from The Dissenter Newsletter on the British High Court reversing and granting the US government a broader appeal in the Assange extradition case…
@MElmaazi This work was funded by paid subscribers of The Dissenter Newsletter. Many thanks to them.

Become a paid subscriber and take 25% off a monthly subscription:…

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28 Jul
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I'll go through Hale's letter in this thread.…
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