The Address | Benghazi – Libya
WASHINGTON – A United States District Court judge has postponed ruling on a legal bid to unseal reported criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
A free-press advocacy group wants to see the documents after their existence was apparently let slip by prosecutors in another case. However, federal prosecutors told the judge that they oppose a request by the group for the unsealing of any pending U.S. criminal indictment against Assange, and declined to admit whether such charges exist.
Prosecutors and a federal grand jury based in Alexandria, Virginia for several years have been investigating Assange, WikiLeaks and other individuals associated with the website, though no public charges have been filed.
In 2010, WikiLeaks released a classified video of the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike showing two Reuters employees being fired at, after the pilots mistakenly thought the men were carrying weapons, which were in fact cameras.
The release of the video was followed by the release of thousands of U.S. classified military and diplomatic documents.
The Administration of President Barack Obama decided not to file criminal charges against Assange or WikiLeaks on the grounds that the website was arguably as protected as more traditional media outlets by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks for disclosing emails embarrassing to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. But later, officials of President Donald Trump’s administration condemned WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service.”