Julian Assange Formally Requests Pardon from Trump
WikiLeaks founder submits formal request with president
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has made a formal request for a pardon from President Donald Trump, according to reports.
The official request was filed with the White House on Tuesday morning, according to the Gateway Pundit.
President Trump has come under increasing pressure, from people from across the political spectrum, to pardon the whistleblower journalist, citing the importance of the freedom to publish.
The mother of Assange’s two young children, his fiancé Stella Morris, has previously called for a pardon — but a request was not formally submitted until this week.
Assange is imprisoned in the United Kingdom pending a decision about his extradition to the United States.
In the U.S., he faces charges under the Espionage Act for his Obama-era publication of the Iraq and Afghan War Logs.
If convicted he could face a maximum sentence of 175 years for the “crime” of publishing material that the US government did not want the population to know, according to the GWP.
In 2018, President Trump’s attorneys quietly made a case in defense of WikiLeaks throughout legal filings responding to a lawsuit filed by Democrat Party donors who alleged that the campaign and former advisor Roger Stone conspired with Russians to publish the leaked Democratic National Committee emails.
Their assessment was correct.
Buried within hundreds of pages of case filings, in a motion filed in October 2018, Trump lawyer Michael A. Carvin argued that under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C. § 230), “a website that provides a forum where ‘third parties can post information’ is not liable for the third party’s posted information.”
“That is so even when even when the website performs ‘editorial functions’ ‘such as deciding whether to publish,’” the filing contends.
“Since WikiLeaks provided a forum for a third party (the unnamed ‘Russian actors’) to publish content developed by that third party (the hacked emails), it cannot be held liable for the publication.”
This defense holds true for the war log releases that Assange has been charged for publishing.
“In addition, the First Amendment generally denies the government power to punish truthful speech,” Carvin wrote.
He added that privacy cannot justify these violations of core First Amendment norms.
The filing then refers to the 1989 case of Florida Star v. B.J.F., in which it was determined that “punishing truthful publication in the name of privacy” is an “extraordinary measure.”
The formal pardon request comes on the heels of a viral claim from a Trump ally that the president would be pardoning the publisher.
While he ended up retracting his statement, claiming he had faulty sources, it was clear that it was a move that people from both sides of the political spectrum support.
The tweet gained over 75,000 “likes” on Twitter in about an hour, before being retracted.
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden weighed in on the news saying that “I very much hope this is true.
"The case against Assange is based on a legal theory that would criminalize the work of every journalist, both at home and abroad.”
Snowden has previously lobbied for a pardon for Assange, even before one for himself.
In early December, Snowden made a direct plea with Trump on Twitter.
Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life. @realDonaldTrump— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 3, 2020
“Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange,” Snowden tweeted earlier this month.
"You alone can save his life."