Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Assange said she witnessed Trump associate Charles Johnson and former Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher put the offer forward during a meeting in August 2017 at London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange had to evade from being arrested at that time. Assange stayed there for seven years until Ecuador revoked his political asylum and let police officers inside who arrested him.
Johnson and Rohrabacher stated that Trump knew about the meeting and gave his approval of the offer to Assange in what they’ve described as a “win-win” proposal, reveals Robinson’s written statement provided to Assange’s hearing at the Old Bailey court in London.
49-year-old Julian Assange is fighting against being extradited to the U.S. where he could face up to 175 years in prison on espionage-related charges because of when WikiLeaks released confidential diplomatic cables between 2010 and 2011.
“Rohrabacher explained that he wanted to resolve the ongoing speculation about Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) leaks to Wikileaks. He said that he regarded the ongoing speculation as damaging to U.S.-Russian relations, that it was reviving old Cold War politics, and that it would be in the best interests of the U.S. if the matter could be resolved,” Robinson’s statement reads.
In return, the men offered “some form of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent U.S. incitement and extradition” for Julian Assange, Robinson’s statement mentioned.
A prosecutor for the U.S. government named James Lewis QC said during Friday’s hearing that: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said. We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.”
According to Robinson, she and Assange asked the men to make the case to Trump and said he should be released solely on the grounds of the First Amendment. Robinson and Assange noted that President Barack Obama had previously commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence, who was the former Army intelligence analyst who had been given a 35-year prison sentence for providing WikiLeaks with classified information.
WikiLeaks did not disclose the source of the leaks and cited its editorial policy, Robinson said.
Jennifer Robinson’s statement was read to the court and said the presidential pardon deal and indictment has a political nature, that it was politically motivated in order for Assange to expose the DNC source of the 2016 emails leak. But like a true journalist, Assange of course refused to give up WikiLeaks’ sources.
"#JulianAssange's lawyer @suigenerisjen's statement was read to the court & it shows the political nature of this indictment saying how a representative of #Trump was sent to the Ecuadorian Embassy to offer #Assange a deal of a presidential pardon in exchange for the DNC Source." pic.twitter.com/SUdEAD1Um7
— Terrence Daniels (Captain 🍀 Planet) (@Terrence_STR) September 18, 2020
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responded to the claims after they surfaced earlier this year and said the allegations were “absolutely and completely false.”
Grisham said at the time that “Trump barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never-ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”
Rohrabacher previously denied making the offer to Assange.
In a statement in February, Rohrabacher said, “At no time did I offer Julian Assange anything from the president because I had not spoken with the president about this issue at all. However, when speaking with Julian Assange, I told him that if he could provide me information and evidence about who actually gave him the DNC emails, I would then call on President Trump to pardon him.”
When Rohrabacher returned to Washington he said said he “wasn’t successful in getting this message through to the president but I still call on him to pardon Julian Assange, who is the true whistleblower of our time.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.