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The Latest: Assange lawyer says charges threaten journalists

May 24, 2019
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FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, protesters demonstrate outside court where Julian Assange will appear in London. The Justice Department has charged Assange with receiving and publishing classified information. The charges are contained in a new, 18-count indictment announced May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the “unprecedented charges” against his client threaten all journalists looking to inform the public about actions taken by the American government.

Assange was charged in a new 18-count indictment Thursday with soliciting and publishing classified information.

Barry Pollack, his lawyer, says the indictment charges Assange with “encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information.”

Pollack says the case poses a threat to all journalists doing their job.

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4 p.m.

The U.S. has filed new charges Thursday against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of placing the United States at risk of serious harm by publishing thousands of secret and classified documents, including the names of confidential sources for American armed forces.

In an 18-count, superseding indictment, Justice Department prosecutors allege that Assange directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

The case presents immediate questions about media freedom, including whether the Justice Department is charging Assange for actions — such as soliciting and publishing classified information — that journalists do as a matter of course. Department officials say they believe Assange strayed far outside First Amendment protections.

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