Assange’s Hearing is Monday — Help Us Cover It

Consortium News will be in London Monday to report on a High Court hearing that will decide the next phase in Julian Assange’s ordeal: extradition or appeal.

Royal Courts of Justice, setting of Assange’s hearing on Monday. (Joe Lauria)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The High Court of England and Wales on Monday will issue its ruling on the validity of two U.S. promises to not execute imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange if he is convicted in the United States, and that he may ask an American court to allow him a First Amendment defense if he stands trial in America.   

At stake is Assange’s application to the High Court to appeal the decision and the home secretary’s order to extradite him to federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. There he would stand trial on U.S. Espionage Act charges for publishing classified material that revealed evidence of U.S. war crimes in a manner identical to that of any journalist.

The First Amendment is at the core of the unconstitutionality of the Espionage Act.  The Assange case could lead to a constitutional challenge of it. The imprisoned publisher is also charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. 

The High Court in London on March 26 ruled that Assange had three grounds to appeal, because 1). his extradition was incompatible with his free speech rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights; 2.) that he might be prejudiced because of his nationality (not being given 1st Amendment protection as a non-American) and 3). because he had inadequate protection against the death penalty. (Without such protection Britain cannot extradite him.).

Rather than proceed with the appeal on those three grounds, the High Court gave the U.S. the chance, fours years after the extradition process began, to promise it would not use the death penalty, and to guarantee his free speech rights.

But because the decision about Assange asserting a First Amendment defense at trial will be up to the U.S. court and not the Department of Justice, the DOJ could not issue such an assurance on the free speech issue.

Assange’s lawyers have challenged the U.S. promises in written submissions and we will hear the High Court’s decision on Monday. 

Either Assange will be granted an appeal on the outstanding First Amendment issue (presuming the court will accept the assurance against the death penalty), or he will have reached the end of the road in the British courts and could be extradited at any time, barring an injunction from the European Court of Human Rights. 

Consortium News will be physically inside the courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice in London to deliver live tweeting plus print and video reports throughout the day and week. 

Consortium News has been recognized has having the most comprehensive and incisive coverage of the historic Assange case of any media organization in the world. We couldn’t do it without the generous support of our readers and viewers.

You can greatly help us with our London coverage by making a donation today to our Spring Fund Drive. Thank you. 

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Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

10 comments for “Assange’s Hearing is Monday — Help Us Cover It

  1. hetro
    May 18, 2024 at 18:13

    I suppose if what happens goes the government’s way on Monday, Blinken will get on the stage somewhere with his guitar and render this old song:

    There’s something happening here
    What it is ain’t exactly clear

    There’s a man with a gun over there
    Telling me I got to beware

    I think it’s time we stop, children,
    what’s that sound

    Everybody look what’s going down

    Stephen Stills For What It’s Worth 1967

  2. hetro
    May 18, 2024 at 18:03

    The weakness of the first amendment “assurance” (which is NOT an assurance) will show whether there is a scintilla of concern for justice in this case or more of the posturing and bullying. Am I correct that the “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” charge is Julian’s offer to help Manning, but which help Manning did not need?

  3. May 18, 2024 at 17:25

    Thank You Joe

  4. CaseyG
    May 18, 2024 at 16:22

    I trust Julian Assange more than all of those listed:
    Biden, Starner, Blinken, Trudeau, Macron, Sunak, Scholz, Ursula von der Leyen.

    What a sad tale when TRUTH appears to mean nothing to those listed above.

    • Mary Ann Byrne
      May 19, 2024 at 19:52

      I agree. Julian Assange should be set free after his horrible imprisonment for so many years. If he is sent to the US it will be a terrible notice to all journalists who want to tell the truth about their governments!

  5. LeoSun
    May 18, 2024 at 16:02

    “Assange’s Hearing,” BEGS the Proverb, “ It’s better to be a positive critic than being a hypocrite,” i.e., “Hur’d, round the world,” “Five (5) weeks after his report into Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents exploded a political bombshell.

    …….. [FORMER] special counsel Robert Hur appeared at a hearing in Congress to explain and defend his work,” NOT refer, recommend, require the current, U.S. President, Joey Robinette Biden, be “immediately” charged w/willfully removing, hoarding, banking on classified docs; &, put on trial, held to account,” for corruption, conduct unbecoming of a president, a senator, a human, 1) Forty (40) years ago, willfully removing outta the $enate’s SCIF, “Classified” government documents;” 2) Over, forty (40) years & five (5) hours, later, the current president, Joey Robinette Biden, BUSTED!

    3) “Hur’d round the world,” a) the U.S., declines to pursue a criminal case against a “well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.” IN SUM, the dementia addled, truth challenged, political corpse, posing as POTUS masquerading as human, is, literally & figuratively, mentally & physically unfit to “STAND” for trial, after November’s $election “Election” 2024.

    4) Hur’d round the world,” POTUS, Biden-Harris & their WH Handlers’ ask is: “delete & fast forward to November’s 2024 $election,”

    5) “Hur’d round the world,” the special counsel “was required to include his reasoning in his report to the attorney general and that he refused to “shape, sanitise or omit portions of my reasoning for political reasons”. HENCE, JRBiden’s “literally” personalizing “it,” makes car sounds, “V’rooms, Zooms,” PUNCH IT! JRBiden channeling his f/corvette parked next to his “filing” cabinet, broken, ripped, torn cardboard boxes of “Classified” govt., docs, RECORDED. The official “Audio.” May, 2024-POTUS executes an Executive Order, denying the US Congress the official recording!!! AND, Garland is held in contempt of everything, plant, animal & human.

    6) Kept, over 40 years, “tb used for reference materials, JRBiden’s #1 $ource, classified docs, tb shared with/his ghostwriter, to “bank” $8Million bucks. Titled, “The Grim Reaper & his Crpyt Keeper, “whistling past the graveyard,” making an ATM deposit in Delawhere; then to REHABoth for some R & R w/his doc, FLOTUS…..

    …… “What kinda diplomacy is that, Joey?”

    “Here’s the deal,” it’s NOT diplomacy; it’s greed! AND, “greed makes us do embarrassing things.”

    6) Basically, the DNC’s, M,I.C.’s, F.B.I.’s, C.I.A., WH’s perverted Gerontologist “lives!” functioning @ a “3-7 year’s old mentality. Generally being capable of some degree of communication & performance of simple tasks under supervision.” AND, obviously, IMO, “down” w/Julian Assange & every other investigative journalist, publisher, whistleblower taking bullet after bullet after bullet; year after year, for the Divided $tates of Corporate America’s USPresidents’ 40-46 war crimes & crimes against humanity.

    …. “The First Amendment is at the core of the unconstitutionality of the Espionage Act. The Assange case could lead to a constitutional challenge. The imprisoned publisher is also charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.” JOE LAURIA

    BEGS the Proverb, “ It’s better to be a positive critic than being a hypocrite,” ….i.e., “Big Brother is home. He is installed in the item you just dragged home from the Apple store.” Julian Assange

    “Consortium News will be in London.” Save the Date: Monday, 5.20.24: “Assange’s Hearing — Help Us Cover It.” Done & Dusted. Onward & Upwards!!!

    * “Biden classified files report” @ hxxps://

  6. Richard Burrill
    May 18, 2024 at 10:59

    I hope the high court does not believe the lies the U.S. is telling them.

    • WillD
      May 18, 2024 at 22:24

      If it does, then the fallout will be huge. It will not only discredit the UK justice system even more, but will have considerable implications for the UK government, and media worldwide. It will be the final nail in the coffin of UK sovereignity, and its somewaht tarnished reputation for justice.

      I cannot imagine that the judges don’t know this, and that despite pressure from the UK government, will have to balance their decision to minimise the fallout and maintain some credibility. Equally, does the Biden regime want the embarassment of such negative publicity in an election year, when their candidate is doing so badly already? Somehow, I doubt it.

      However, if they manage to delay the decision, then there is a real danger to Assange, that if Trump wins in November and puts Mike Pompeo into a top government job – remember him, the man who plotted to assassimnate him in the Ecuadorian embassy – it could endanger him even more.

      I’m not holding my breath.

  7. susan
    May 18, 2024 at 10:32

    Biden, Starmer, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and cronies should all be on trial for mass murder and Julian Assange should be set free. Free Julian Assange!

    • Mary Ann Byrne
      May 19, 2024 at 19:56

      Absolutely! Julian Assange should finally be set free!

Comments are closed.