15 September 2020 — Assange Defense
Two experts testified in Julian’s hearing today, making important arguments against extradition.
You can read a full recap of the day’s hearing at our blog. Let’s get right into today’s highlights:
Expert attorney Eric Lewis: Under Trump, Justice Department is the Prosecutorial Hand of the President
Attorney Eric Lewis, who began his testimony yesterday, reappeared today. Lewis has represented Guantanamo detainees and serves as chairman of the board of Reprieve. The U.S. prosecutors attempted to push back against Lewis during cross-examination, especially on the argument that the indictment of Julian is political. But Lewis gave powerful testimony about the bias of key Trump administration officials. Lewis pointed out that the Justice Department is now “highly politicized,” and that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions “pressured” the Eastern District of Virginia. Lewis also noted how this has continued under Attorney General William Barr, and reiterated the harsh conditions Julian would face in U.S. prisons.
Former Federal Prosecutor Thomas Durkin: Julian’s Trial Would Not Be Fair
Prominent attorney Thomas Durkin, a former federal prosecutor, echoed many of Eric Lewis’ arguments while drawing attention to a key point: fairness. “I don’t believe [Julian] would be able to get what I would consider to be a fair trial in the United States,” Durkin told the government’s attorney during cross-examination. Durkin made a number of important arguments on Julian’s access to evidence, bias in the U.S. justice system, and how the government uses leaks to influence public opinion. You can read our full report on Durkin’s testimony here.
A Look Ahead: Daniel Ellsberg and John Goetz
Expected to testify tomorrow is Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, the famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower. Ellsberg’s case is fascinating in its own right, but is particularly relevant given its similarities to Julian’s. Both Julian and Ellsberg placed themselves at personal risk in order to reveal hidden truths about war to the public. Both of their cases raised important First Amendment issues, and both of them were victims of misconduct by governments that relentlessly pursued them. Also slated to testify is investigative journalist John Goetz, who broke major stories at Der Spiegelusing WikiLeaks documents.
Team Assange Defense