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HomeWorld NewsWikiLeaks’ Assange is free after pleading guilty in deal with Justice Department

WikiLeaks’ Assange is free after pleading guilty in deal with Justice Department

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange pleaded guilty Tuesday in connection with a deal with federal prosecutors to close a drawn-out legal saga related to the leaking of military secrets that raised divisive questions about press freedom and national security.

The plea to a single count of conspiring to obtain and disclose information related to the national defense was entered Wednesday morning in federal court in Saipan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, an American commonwealth in the Pacific that accommodated Assange’s desire to avoid entering the continental United States.

Julian Assange in court

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, second right, arrives at the United States courthouse where he is expected to enter a plea deal in Saipan, Mariana Islands, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) (AP )

Assange said that he believed the Espionage Act under which he was charged contradicted his First Amendment rights but that he accepted that encouraging sources to provide classified information for publication can be unlawful.

Assange, 52, will be sentenced to time served of 62 months, the equivalent to the prison time he spent in the United Kingdom. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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