The goals of Joe Biden could scuttle the extradition of WikiLeaks co-founder, Virginia’s outgoing lawyer says
The U.S. prosecutor attempting to prosecute Julian Assange in the U.S. said he was unclear whether the current White House administration of Joe Biden will continue to pursue the extradition of the WikiLeaks co-founder. Zachary Terwilliger, named by Donald Trump, made the remarks when it was revealed that he was stepping down as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens in this situation. There are going to be some choices that have to be made.
The resignation of Terwilliger as a prosecutor in Virginia, where Assange would be prosecuted on spying and hacking charges if extradited from the United Kingdom, comes as the 49-year-old hopes to succeed in a bail bid Wednesday at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Some of it comes down to finances and where you will concentrate your efforts, he told NPR. As his chances of escaping extradition to the U.S. were significantly improved by a legal victory at the Old Bailey on Monday, when a judge ruled that health considerations meant that he could not be extradited, Assange’s lawyers are expected to press for bail.
Lawyers for the U.S. authorities have stated that they would appeal the judgment of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who sat in England and Wales’ Central Criminal Court, on Monday. Although she dismissed claims that Assange would not get a fair trial in the United States, she blocked extradition on the grounds that jail protocols there would not keep him from eventually taking his own life. Carl Tobias, a law professor at Richmond University, Virginia, said Donald Trump’s pardon of Assange was impossible, adding that it was “more likely” that the U.S. Justice Department will appeal before the president leaves office on Jan. 20, trying to rebut the judge’s views on the U.S. prison system. “He continued, “Biden and the new administration, including his attorney general and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Assange was charged and will be prosecuted, would be the most critical decisions, and those officials will not be approved for many months. “Assange is one of the first big problems that Biden and the leadership of the new Justice Department are likely to face, and “My sense is that Biden and his team will not allow the issue to be decided by attrition, but want to seriously consider all relevant issues and make the best possible decision,” he said. The case against Assange relates to the release by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011 of hundreds of thousands of leaked papers on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as diplomatic cables.