WASHINGTON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged in the United States, the organization said, in a development that could have implications for Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election, reports AFP.
Prosecutors inadvertently disclosed the existence of a sealed indictment in a court filing in an unrelated case, WikiLeaks said Thursday.The exact nature of the charges against Assange was not immediately known.
“SCOOP: US Department of Justice ‘accidentally’ reveals existence of sealed charges (or a draft for them) against WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange in apparent cut-and-paste error in an unrelated case also at the Eastern District of Virginia,” Wikileaks wrote on Twitter. The still-unsealed charges against Assange were revealed by Assistant US Attorney Kellen Dwyer as he made a filing in the unrelated case and urged a judge to keep that filing sealed.
Dwyer wrote: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” according to The Washington Post.
The charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested,” Dwyer wrote.
Federal prosecutors have been investigating Assange over WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of a trove of US diplomatic cables that proved an acute embarrassment to Washington.