ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Legal Teams Likely Informed Already of Judge’s Decision

According to usual practice, both the prosecution & defense have most likely been informed of the judge’s decision on Julian Assange’s extradition case, though normal procedure is to not yet inform the defendant or his family, writes Alexander Mercouris.

Assange outside British Supreme Court, 2011. (acidpolly/Flickr)

By Alexander Mercouris
in London
Special to Consortium News

In accordance with a British magistrate court’s usual procedure, Julian Assange’s Judgment has almost certainly already been written and sent in draft form to the respective teams of lawyers, probably early on Friday evening.

The lawyers therefore already know what the decision is, as well as the British government and at least the Department of Justice in Washington.

Under established procedure, Assange’s lawyers are not supposed to tell Assange himself what the decision is so he and his family are probably the only people who are directly involved in his case who don’t yet know its outcome.

The purpose in sending the Judgment in draft form to the lawyers in advance of the Court hearing is to give them an opportunity to check it for factual mistakes.

The public will not know the outcome until Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser reads out the Judgment in its finalised form, with any factual mistakes corrected, when Court convenes on Monday at 10 am London time. The Judgment should then be published online by the Court Service directly after she has finished.

In addition to the Judgment – and obviously to the decision whether or not to extradite, which will be set out in the Judgment – the public may learn immediately afterward whether either of the two sets of lawyers intend to appeal. Either side has seven days to appeal the judgment.

While the intent of allowing both sides to see the Judgment in advance is not to help facilitate an appeal, having the judgement before it is read to the court affords attorneys a chance to consider whether or not to launch one.

If It’s a Split Decision

One possibility that must be considered is that Baraitser may decide to extradite on one indictment and not on the other, for instance, if she rules against extradition on the Espionage Act charges, but decides in favour of extradition on the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge (which carries a maximum five year sentence as opposed to 170 on espionage.)

Assange’s frail health and the harsh U.S. prison conditions outlined by defense witnesses at his hearing might influence Baraitser to go with the lesser computer charge.

What is likely to happen in that case is that the British authorities would accept Baraitser’s decision and would try to reach an agreement with the DoJ whereby, in return for Assange’s extradition, the U.S. would commit itself to try Assange only on the computer intrusion charges, and not on the Espionage Act charges.

The British over the course of the negotiations would tell the U.S. that if the U.S. were not willing to give that commitment then the British would not be able to extradite Assange to the U.S.

Of course the British (if Assange were extradited to the U.S. on such a basis) would be in no position to compel the U.S. to abide by such a commitment if the U..S were to go back on it once Assange was on U.S. soil.

Since that has to be a very likely possibility, one would think it would be a point which Assange’s lawyers would make in the appeal they would be bound to make to the High Court against Baraitser’s decision to extradite on the computer charge.

In fact in such a scenario it’s not impossible that both sides would appeal to the High Court:

(1) the U.S. against Baraitser’s decision to refuse to extradite on the basis of the Espionage Act;

(2) Assange’s lawyers against Baraitser’s decision to extradite on the computer intrusion charges.

It would be a fascinating battle and it would be fascinating to see how it would play out.

Logically, the balance ought to tip in Assange’s favour since Baraitser would presumably have rejected extradition on the Espionage Act charges because they were not properly made out and because they were overtly political.

In light of that, would the High Court be prepared to allow Assange’s extradition on computer intrusion charges to a country which had tried unsuccessfully to bring overtly political charges against him which the lower Court had rejected?

Nothing is predictable in this case.

Appeal Scenarios

In the event that Baraitser decides the case in Assange’s favour, and the U.S. government decides to appeal, there is also the question of whether or not Assange will be released pending the outcome of the appeal, or whether he will continue to be kept in detention in Belmarsh.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald in his latest article assumes that Assange will remain in detention throughout the appeal process, but that is not certain.

Since there would be a Court Judgment saying that extradition had been refused, and since Assange is not being held because of any crime committed in the United Kingdom, and as there is no outstanding prison sentence imposed on him by any British Court, one would think that Baraitser in her Judgment would order his immediate release.

British authorities might take steps to rearrest him (perhaps on still more, new U.S. charges) immediately as the order for his release is made. But it seems certain that Assange’s lawyers would make an prompt application, either to Baraitser or to a High Court judge for Assange’s immediate release, which given a hypothetical decision in his favour,  Baraitser or the High Court judge would probably grant.

Given Baraitser’s demeanour in court during Assange’s hearing, and given several of the decisions she made, the greater likelihood is that she will rule in favour of U.S. extradition on both indictmments, in which case Assange would almost certainly remain in Belmarsh prison while his legal team appeals.  If she should pursue a split decision there would be a stronger likelihood that Assange would continue in detention until the appeal were decided because the Court would have decided to allow his extradition to the U.S.

However even in that case Assange’s lawyers would still be in a position to apply for bail on the grounds that the most serious and important part of the case made by the U.S. for his extradition (the Espionage Act charges) had been refused, and that his appeal against the remaining part (the computer intrusion charges) was likely to be successful.  

The public and Assange himself will know in less than 48 hours.

Alexander Mercouris is a legal analyst and editor of The Duran.

Contribute to Consortium
NewsWinter Fund Drive

Donate securely with Paypal


Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:

33 comments for “ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Legal Teams Likely Informed Already of Judge’s Decision

  1. M. Paterson
    January 4, 2021 at 05:09

    If the judge(magistrate) rules in favor of the US, it may be that the Home Secretary has already issued an extradition order which could see Mr Assange bundled out of the court sent to an American base and/or placed on an aircraft bound for the USA or GITMO.
    It would be interesting to know if such an aircraft is sitting on the departure apron being made ready to rapidly depart the UK.
    Which airport?

    January 4, 2021 at 01:38

    Alexander Mercouris is a legal analyst intimately familiar with the British legal system.

  3. Js
    January 3, 2021 at 21:13

    Free Julian Assange

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    January 3, 2021 at 14:59

    Shame on Australia for keeping quiet. Their silence is deafening…Shame!!! And whether or not Assange goes free, the US will continue covering up all it’s criminal acts all over the world. And shame to the world for lacking the backbone to stand up to the US.

  5. January 3, 2021 at 14:16

    I just can’t get over the Judge sending out the decision to the legal teams a couple days early so they can check for factual mistakes .. Factual mistakes . !st of all it was a gross factual mistake to even have a trail on Julian Assange . 2cd There must be a crime before a trail takes place . There was no crime . I’am sick of us common people supporting and paying these over educated worthless morons . There are many people that do not contribute enough so they deserve to live . Way too many of those people are concentrated in the legal profession . Why not scrap the entire bunch . We need a different system one that uses common sense .

  6. Mary-Ellen Laidlaw
    January 3, 2021 at 12:17

    He is a hero and spoke the truth he revealed corruption at the highest level why we protect the guilty and prosecute the innocent I will never understand

  7. Gus
    January 3, 2021 at 05:30

    America is a failed state.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      January 3, 2021 at 15:01

      And the rest of the Western world is a “failed state” too – for keeping quiet.

  8. Dennis Beal
    January 3, 2021 at 03:55

    Democracy is dead if Julian Assange is extradited. Where is the courage of the PRESS. Most newspapers these days are like comic strips. It seems there are very few honest and brave people left. We need to stand together to get politicians to listen to us.

  9. Dumonstier
    January 3, 2021 at 02:05

    The justice system world wide has been a human construct created by the ruling cast as a tool box to defend and protect their own and exclusive interests in a society divided in classes. The British system of justice has a long history of abominable abuses against those who represent a barrier to the absolute domination of the wealthy class and its financial aristocracy. Suffice to look back into the British history of the time of queen victoria to understand how perverse and cruel the system of justice was towards the dissidents like the Fenians, Irish patriots. The letters of Jenny Marx Longuet of 1870 tells about the viciousness and falsity of charges against the Fanians and how revolting and criminal the justice system was under the Gladstone administration. The tradition is maintained to this day, let’s have no illusion about the kind of people we, the greatest majority, have to deal with.

  10. Adwoa Oni
    January 3, 2021 at 01:17

    No sane person should ever trust any representations that the US government would make regarding what they would or would not do to Assange once he is on US soil. The US government has a long and sordid track record of broken treaties with Native Americans. Further, they have reneged on dozens of international and domestic obligations they have agreed to. The US government is not a trustworthy partner in any negotiations. They will find a dozen ways to cheat or completely abandon their bogus promises.

  11. Mandy Reeks
    January 3, 2021 at 01:17


  12. Sue Hackett
    January 3, 2021 at 01:05

    Whatever the outcome, is it worth appealing to President Trump for a Presidential Pardon.?
    Lets have this situation resolved once and for all!

    • Kennex
      January 4, 2021 at 03:48

      Would have so nice if Trump had pardoned Assange while he was in the mood.
      Would be even better if Australia had a PM with a spine. I have seen Gekkos with more backbone than Scmo, he’s as much a failure as a man as he is a PM. Pity he wouldn’t petition the US to release Assange

  13. NKL Narayanan
    January 3, 2021 at 00:08

    Commonly, in any politically-charged trial as this, a key component of the legal/political strategy for the case-managers would be TO GO AFTER THE POLITICIANS at EVERY opportunity in the legal and social media domains – individually and searately – so that they, each of them, personally stand to loose AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, politically (and in all other personal senses) where this can be achieved and managed in very real and tangible ways.

    In this sense, the ICC litigation against any and all INDIVIDUAL politicians involved in the TORTURE OF ASSANGE (crimes against humanity etc ?) is to be HUGELY WELCOME. Also of course, (where relevant) critical case-management including selection and management of the state party from where to bring the ICC charges (Gambia as in the Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi case) will be centrally important.

    In the end, the Assange case seems exceptionally THE PIVOTAL POINT and watershed moment for our times upon which THE PEOPLE’S right of free speech/expression for investigating criminal charges against all ‘criminally-inclined’ dictatorial types including many of our “democratic” politicians, will rest. May WE THE PEOPLE prevail in our screams for JUSTICE to be done at the very highest levels in our “so-called modern democracy” times.

    • James
      January 4, 2021 at 07:43

      “ICC litigation against any and all INDIVIDUAL politicians involved in the TORTURE OF ASSANGE (crimes against humanity etc ?) is to be HUGELY WELCOME”
      I was not aware that there is an ICC case of this nature. Could you be more specific please?
      The ICC has been hugely discredited over its decision to drop its investigation into War Crimes committed by the British in Iraq.
      It would be greatly encouraging to learn that all the bad actors in the Assange outrage would be held to account!

  14. Nathan Mulcahy
    January 2, 2021 at 18:42

    What travesty of justice and rule of law – what hypocrisy. The treatment of Assange has forever changed my opinion about the collective west.

  15. RomeoCharlie29
    January 2, 2021 at 17:43

    I find this an unsettling piece of highly speculative reporting. The idea that his lawyers might know but can’t tell their client his fate surprises me. I am not a lawyer but it seems improper to me to be postulating the magistrate’s potential findings in such presumptive form.

    However the cardinal point in this whole affair is the lengths the political and legal establishments are prepared to go to to persecute Assange for truth telling.

    And, as an Australian, I am ashamed that my governments past and present, have not only conspired in this persecution but have apparently abandoned Assange as an Australian citizen needing help.

    Of course all of the governments involved are part of the five eyes clique with a vested interest in preserving military secrets despite all paying bullshit lip service to the principle of protecting whistleblowers who expose wrongs. Hypocrites all.

      January 3, 2021 at 03:47

      It is standard practice in Britain to inform the lawyers a couple of days before the judgement, but not to inform the defendant. We did not make this up. What is speculative is that they may not have been informed ahead of time, which would be outside the norm.

      hXXps:// :

      “… it is common for the Judge to provide a copy of the judgment to the parties’ legal representatives a day or two before the judgment is “handed down” in open court. During that time, the parties must not disclose it to any other person or use it in the public domain and no action may be taken (other than internally) in response.”

  16. Eugene Weixel
    January 2, 2021 at 16:50

    As a US citizen I am deeply ashamed not only of the treatment of Julian Assange in my name. I’m ashamed of the crimes against Iraq and Iraqi people he and Pvt. Manning exposed.

  17. January 2, 2021 at 15:19

    Learning about the fact is hard so I dedicate this to those who let us know the facts:
    Iran Contra

    Hey Robert, or Parry
    I miss you so badly
    To speak, frankly.

    I was in Iran when
    Saddam was supported
    By US government.

    Reagan rode the horses
    As he did in movies.

    Best ponies to him were
    Breed of Arabic.

    So, he rode Saudis…

    I saw bombs as if rained
    From mountain chains
    After were converted
    To flood, to murder…

    Then, people in US
    And Russia and elsewhere
    Were in dark, blinded
    To their own governments’
    Selling arms, armaments!

    West supplied the planes
    Part on cash, part to pay
    By oil, in future:
    “Destroy the Persians!”

    Yes, Parry, I have lost
    Too many of friends
    That I took to fronts
    And brought in coffins.

    Thank you, my friend,
    I adore the paper
    That carries golden name
    Of Parry, or Robert.

    But puzzled, have question:
    “How many citizens
    Of US, and others
    Have learned or are aware?”

    Guess it is a nonsense
    To say or have claim:
    “Oh, we have had effect!”

    Our people are kind but
    Sheepishly after hay.

    They are the “Ninety-Nine”
    In hands of “One Percent.”

    We are sold and are bought,
    Are we not their slaves?

    Look at the Uncle Tom
    Support for Donald Trump.

    You and I have nothing
    Beyond pain, crying
    In the dark of our cells
    That built them CIA.

    Hey, Robert, brother
    Sleep well in grave
    And find me a place,
    Want to come and settle.

    Living life like donkeys
    Or the ants and horses
    Under mean governments
    Is nothing but a shame…

    Please come after me,
    Eagerly am waiting
    Trigger one of the
    Navy Seals or Iran’s
    Or Mossad’s, KGB’s,
    To shoot me and kill me!

  18. January 2, 2021 at 15:09

    After Judge Baraitser reads her guilty verdict. Trump could immortalize himself, affirm his “fake news” critique, by throwing it back in her teeth, pardon the greatest martyr to truth of our time. A single act that would stand forever as an indictment of the oligarch deep state, …and require all future historians to nuance, if not redeem, all his performance in office.

  19. jaycee
    January 2, 2021 at 14:54

    The extreme prejudice and bad faith exhibited by UK officials over the past decade strongly indicates Assange’s extradition will be approved. This will then go into a long period of appeal, further draining resources and time from Wikileaks, during which the British authorities will continue to quietly hope Assange expires in Belmarsh. I unfortunately do not anticipate any wave of enlightened thought will wash over the personages involved – they have proven themselves grey, compromised, and thoroughly mediocre. The persecution of Assange is exactly where our elites are at – intellectually and morally.

    • Antiwar7
      January 3, 2021 at 22:21

      You got that right. In the West, all our institutions of power are run by sociopaths. They do know better, and they still act the way they do. We all need to wake up to this fact.

      Our “leaders” will never give in to reason or pleas to morality. Only a broad awakening can help, in which normal people realize what their leaders really are (all of them, not just in one political party or another).

    • James
      January 4, 2021 at 07:47

      Well said

  20. Nick
    January 2, 2021 at 14:21

    To me the biggest thing that the refusal of the mainstream press in America to talk about this shows is that they never plan on telling you the truth about anything, this don’t actually fear real threats to press freedom.

  21. rosemerry
    January 2, 2021 at 14:06

    Even the craven “journalists” like David Leigh and Luke Harding in the Guardian and all those in the NYT and other papers that benefited from the Wikileaks revelations then stood aside when Assange was the only one made to pay for telling the truth must surely realize that all freedom of speech is now nullified as nobody will dare take the risks Julian courageously took.

  22. Vi Mooberry
    January 2, 2021 at 13:27

    The handling of Julian Assange has been totally void of justice from the beginning. If he is to be the scapegoat, he has paid over and over again. I , too, am horrified and saddened by the general public’s desires to seek vindication for this purported crime that most journalists have committed time and time again. Free Julian now and open minds to critical thinking skills rather than herd-style thinking.

  23. alexndra moffat
    January 2, 2021 at 13:07

    Accountability is necessary for successful democracy; it is impossible without cherished whistleblowers.

    Fervently hoping for Assange freedom….

  24. worldblee
    January 2, 2021 at 12:28

    The impending ruling, which I fear will be in favor of the US prosecutors, has been made but the world averts its eyes. Even if the ruling goes against Julian, we must not relent. Whistle blowers cannot be prosecuted for the crime of revealing the truth. If Julian isn’t free, none of us are free.

  25. January 2, 2021 at 11:45

    As an American, I am ashamed and horrified that Julian is being tortured IN MY NAME.

    Where is the OUTRAGE?

    Without the Courage of the PRESS and the Courage of Whistle Blowers, we live in the Dark like maggots

    • January 2, 2021 at 13:59


    • David Otness
      January 2, 2021 at 17:02

      I completely concur, Pamela.

Comments are closed.