Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz predicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act.
“I think the Trump administration overplayed its hand. So did the Justice Department,” Mr. Dershowitz said in an interview that aired Sunday night on AM 970 in New York.
Mr. Dershowitz said the United Kingdom won’t hand over Mr. Assange for publishing defense secrets because the case is about First Amendment free speech rights, not espionage.
“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,” he said.
“But publishing materials? That’s very different. That’s The New York Times and The Washington Post,” Mr. Dershowitz 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.”
Mr. Assange was arrested in April by British authorities after spending years trapped in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to dodge sexual assault charges in Sweden.
The Justice Department last month filed a 17-count indictment against Mr. Assange accusing him of violating the Espionage Act by conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified information.
Manning spent seven years in prison for her role in the leak.
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