Judge considers case for unsealing court records concerning WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

November 27, 2018

A Virginia federal court judge heard competing arguments Tuesday morning for and against disclosing details about the government’s investigation into WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

In Alexandria, Lawyers for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a non-profit organization representing journalists’ interests, asked U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema to issue an order unsealing court records concerning the government’s likely case against Mr. Assange, an Australian native responsible for releasing classified government material through his WikiLeaks website dating back to 2010.

The Justice Department has argued that the government is not obligated to confirm the existence of any possible charges against Mr. Assange, and that charges are typically sealed until following a defendant’s arrest.

Judge Brinkema, a Clinton appointee, concluded the hearing without issuing a ruling. Instead she asked the Reporters Committee to file supplemental material and asked the government to enter its response within the following week.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment afterward on the hearing’s outcome.

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