Published: Thu, February 20, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Rejects Claim That he Offered Assange a Pardon

Trump Rejects Claim That he Offered Assange a Pardon

Assange's barrister revealed the claim at Westminster Magistrates' Court ahead of an extradition hearing next week.

The White House denied the lawyer's claim.

According to multiple reports quoting Assange's lawyers, the super-leaker's legal team was prepared to show evidence and testimony that former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) visited Assange back in 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital, and made the offer: deny Russian Federation was involved in obtaining the emails from DNC servers, and the Trump administration would provide a "pardon or some other way out" of criminal charges in America.

The Australian is facing up to 175 years in prison if convicted in the US.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled the witness's evidence admissible.

The new information includes a witness statement by Jen Robinson, another of Assange's lawyers, that deals with the alleged offer made by then U.S. Representative.

Responding to the claims, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said: "The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he's an ex-congressman".

The anti-extradition group behind the stunt argues that the prosecution of Assange is unlawful because he did journalistic work, and all information published by WikiLeaks was of public interest.

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Grisham says Trump "barely knows" Rohrabacher and had "never spoken to him on this subject or nearly any subject". The benefit for Trump would be obvious - Trump had explicitly asked Russian Federation on the campaign trail to hack opponent Hillary Clinton and accusations of collusion were at the time a major threat to the White House.

"It is is a complete fabrication and a total lie".

Assange is wanted in America to face 18 charges, including conspiring to commit computer intrusion, over the publication of United States cables a decade ago.

The decision, which is expected months later, is likely to be appealed against by the losing side, whatever the outcome.

Wikileaks tweeted after the London court hearing on Wednesday: "Chronology matters: The meeting and the offer were made ten months after Julian Assange had already independently stated Russian Federation was not the source of the DNC publication".

But in a statement released Wednesday, Rohrabacher said he had never spoken to Trump about Assange and that the visit was "my own fact finding mission". His extradition hearings are to start next week.

He spoke to confirm his name and date of birth, and sat holding a stack of papers during the hearing.

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