Julian Assange Likely to Evade Espionage Charges (Report)

Julian Assange
Julian Assange
 Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The Justice Department reportedly has concluded that it can't prosecute the WikiLeaks founder without doing the same to The New York Times and other news outlets.

The United States Department of Justice has nearly concluded that it won't be bringing charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified government documents, according to the Washington Post.

Assange has been the subject of a probe since revealing State Department cables leaked by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning). A grand jury investigation hasn't yet wrapped up, but anonymous U.S. officials tell the newspaper that they have run into what they call a “New York Times problem": how to indict Assange for espionage without prosecuting other news outlets and journalists publishing classified information.

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The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, staying there to avoid possible extradition. In an interview with CNN in October, Assange hinted he would leave the embassy if the U.S. dropped what he called its "immoral" investigation.

Assange's lawyers have been pushing for information.

"We have repeatedly asked the Department of Justice to tell us what the status of the investigation was with respect to Mr. Assange," said Barry Pollack, attorney for Assange. "They have declined to do so. They have not informed us in any way that they are closing the investigation or have made a decision not to bring charges against Mr. Assange. While we would certainly welcome that development, it should not have taken the Department of Justice several years to come to the conclusion that it should not be investigating journalists for publishing truthful information."

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