WikiLeaks Lawyers Say Trump Offered Assange Pardon If He Covered Up Russian Hack
Lawyers for Julian Assange claimed in a London court on Wednesday that President Donald Trump offered to pardon the WikiLeaks founder if he agreed to cover up Russia’s involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee, according to The Daily Beast.
The attorneys are working to keep Assange from extradition to the United States, arguing the case against him is not criminal but political. They said "Trump’s alleged offer to pardon Assange proved that this was no ordinary criminal investigation."
Attorney Edward Fitzgerald said former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher — who is known to be friendly toward Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin — passed on the pardon message in 2017, referencing a statement from another Assange attorney, Jennifer Robinson.
Fitzgerald said the statement showed “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange... said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”
Rohrbacher told The Intercept in 2018 that his attempt to discuss a plan to help Assange with Trump was blocked by former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and other officials, who said the move would look like collusion.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said the allegation should be admissible at Assange’s extradition hearing next week.
Assange faces 18 charges in the U.S., including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, with a potential prison sentence of 175 years, The Daily Beast noted.