Wikileaks Publishes Letter from US Justice Department Outlining Potentiality of Future Charges Under US Espionage Act

Earlier today, April 26th 2019, for the first time, Wikileaks published a letter sent to Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a Wikileaks spokesperson, from the US Department of Justice, outlining the US’s possible intent to charge Julian Assange under the US Espionage Act in the future. Dated March 7th 2019, the letter is significant for a number of reasons. First and foremost because it’s the first look any of us have gotten into the case the US Government will be attempting to make against Julian Assange and second, because it shows the true extent to which journalists can be persecuted for their alleged “crimes” – at least here in the United States of America, that is.

As specified in the letter, the US Department of Justice may one day soon attempt to charge Assange with “unauthorized receipt and dissemination of classified information,” for which there are theoretical charges of either death or life in prison. However, international law prohibits the UK’s extradition of Assange if he faces the death penalty, which is why US prosecutors are adamant he would only face life in prison. However, as the letter even specifies, Assange may merely be charged with these crimes at some point in the future if he’s unwilling to cooperate with US authorities. This is because, at least for the time being, Asange hasn’t been charged with them – yet. For this very reason, essentially, letter can also be thought of as nothing more than a scare tactic of sorts – which is why Assange’s legal team was unafraid to release the letter to the public here today.

Translated Copy of Letter:

United States Department of Justice
United States Attorney’s Office
Eastern Judicial District of Virginia

Dana J. Boente
United States Attorney’s Office
2100 Jamieson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 299-3700
(703) 299-3980 (Fax)

March 7th, 2018

Subject: Daniel Domscheit-Berg

Dear attorney to Mr. Domscheit-Berg:

At the request of the United States, the German authorities have requested that your client be voluntarily questioned. This letter sets forth the terms under which your client would be heard about possible violations of United States federal criminal law regarding the unauthorized receipt and dissemination of classified information.

First, your client will answer all questions fully and truthfully and will provide all information, documents and records held or controlled by your client or to which your client has access and which are related to the subject of the interrogation.

Second, except as noted below, if the United States prosecutes your client, no statements or other information provided by you or your client during the course of the interrogation will be admissible in the government’s taking of evidence in court (case-in-chief) or in the imposition of penalties.

Third, the United States is permitted to reuse and pursue any investigative notices, statements or information that your client recommends or provides. Such derivative information may be used against your client at any time in the course of any criminal or civil proceedings. For example, if your client provides the information necessary to gain access to his electronic devices, this Agreement does not prohibit the disclosure of information obtained through a lawful search warrant on such devices.

Fourth, the United States may use such statements and information in cross-examination and rebuttal if your client appears as a witness at any stage of a civil or criminal proceeding and makes statements that differ from the statements or information provided by your client during the interrogation. In addition, the United States may use such statements and information to disprove further evidence offered or received or factual evaluations presented by or on behalf of your client that differ from the statements or information provided by your client during the interrogation.

Fifth, your client will be subject to prosecution for such violations, including, but not limited to, false testimony and obstruction of justice, if your client intentionally provides the government with false, misleading, or statements and information designed to obstruct justice. Any prosecution could be based on statements or information provided by your client during the interrogation, and the statements and information provided by your client during the interrogation could be used against your client.

Sixth, your client and the government agree that there will be no compromise negotiations or discussion of pleas at the interrogation session. However, should the hearing later be construed as a case of compromise or discussion of pleas, your client will wilfully and voluntarily waive any rights he may have under Federal Rules of Evidence 408 and 410 and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(f) that would not otherwise permit the use against your client of statements made during such negotiations or discussions.

Seventh, neither you nor your client will disclose the existence or manner of this Agreement to anyone other than your client’s family, without prior consultation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office or a court of competent jurisdiction.

Finally, the offer (proffer) to your client will be made in accordance with the agreements set forth herein. There are no promises, agreements or understandings between the parties other than those set forth in this Agreement and no amendments to this Agreement shall be effective unless signed in writing by the parties with the same formalities as in this Agreement.

If your client wishes to be heard under the conditions set out above, you and your client sign this letter as indicated below and return the original to me.

Yours sincerely

Tracy Doherty-McCormick
Acting United States Attorney

By:
Kellen S. Dwyer
Assistant United States Attorney

Download Original Copy of Letter: https://cdn.netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/04/2018-03-07_US-DOJ-DDB.pdf

English Translation of Letter: https://netzpolitik.org/2019/wikileaks-the-us-is-indeed-investigating-assange-for-publishing-secret-information-doj-letter-suggests/#2018-03-07_US-DOJ-DDB-WikiLeaks-ENG

Copy of Original Letter:

2018-03-07_US-DOJ-DDB


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