We had some interesting news about the Julian Assange extradition case over the weekend, though it didn’t get much play on cable news. These updates may wind up proving a bit embarrassing for Alan Dershowitz, however. He was interviewed by John Catsimatidis on Sunday and the subject of Assange came up. Dershowitz made a bold prediction, saying that the Brits weren’t going to extradite the Wikileaks founder to face charges relating to the Espionage Act. (NY Post, emphasis added)
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz predicted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange won’t be extradited to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act.
”I think the Trump administration has overplayed its hand. So did the Justice Department,” Dershowitz told John Catsimatidis on his AM 970 show “The Cats Roundtable” in an interview that aired Sunday. “They had a very strong case for extradition when they initially accused him of trying to break into a password [protected system] and stealing materials. That’s a crime.”
“But publishing materials? That’s very different. That’s The New York Times and The Washington Post,” he continued. “And, I think, Great Britain is going to have a lot of difficulty extraditing Assange to the U.S. to face trial for merely publishing information stolen not by him but by others.”
So there you have it. I guess we won’t be getting our hands on Assange after all, eh? I’m sure the British government is paying close attention to whatever Dershowitz is saying. And in order to get the extradition approved, they would need to convince several officials in London, including Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, particularly if he winds up replacing Theresa May as Prime Minister.
Speak of the devil, only hours after the Dershowitz interview, Jeremy Hunt appeared on Face the Nation and was asked the same question. His response? Hey, we’re not going to stand in the way of American Justice. (CBS News)
The U.K.’s top diplomat said he would not stand in the way of Julian Assange’s extradition to the U.S., a move the Justice Department has requested since the WikiLeaks founder was expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrested by British authorities in April.
Pressed on the U.S. government’s extradition request for Assange, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, one of the high-profile Conservative politicians vying to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, expressed no sympathy for Assange and said he would not block an extradition if he was chosen to lead the British government.
“Well, we would have to follow our own legal processes, just as the U.S. has to follow its own legal processes,” Hunt told “Face the Nation” Sunday. “But would I want to stand in the way of Julian Assange facing justice? No, I would not.”
So Jeremy Hunt isn’t in the mood to block extradition, but it’s far from certain that he’ll be the Prime Minister. There’s been a lot of talk about the possibility that it might be former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Perhaps Assange will find him to be more of a friendly face. Oh, wait… no, he probably won’t.
It’s only right that Julian Assange finally faces justice. Credit to @foreignoffice officials who have worked tirelessly to secure this outcome.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 11, 2019
None of this provides absolute assurances, but the next PM is definitely going to be one of the Tories or their conservative allies. They haven’t been fans of Assange from the beginning. Plus, by the time the extradition hearings finish playing out, the Brits may be fully into Brexit and they’ll be working hard to arrange a solid, bilateral trade deal with the United States. That’s not the sort of situation where they’d be likely to feel like starting a fight with our State Department.
Of course, none of this will matter if the Swedes get their hands on Assange first. Hopefully, there are some discussions going on in the background to prevent that from happening, but we likely won’t find out until a bit further into the summer.