(JustPatriots.com)- The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has formally submitted his request for a pardon from President Donald Trump. He is one of many people who are making a last-ditch effort to try to receive clemency before Trump leaves office in roughly a month.
Assange is currently being held in prison in the United Kingdom while he waits for a decision to be made about whether he’ll be extradited to the United States. The founder of WikiLeaks is facing charges under the Espionage Act because he published logs from the Iraq and Afghan War.
If he were to be convicted for the crimes of which he is accused, Assange faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in jail. It would be for publishing material the U.S. government didn’t want to go public. Many people have called for Assange to be pardoned, in protection of the right to publish information.
Assange may actually have a chance to get pardoned, too. Back in 2018, attorneys for Trump filed a defense of WikiLeaks’ right to publish when they were filing responses to lawsuits filed by donors to the Democratic Party. That lawsuit regarded Trump’s former advisor, Roger Stone, and his alleged connections with Russians to published leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee.
In that filing, one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Carvin, argued that under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, “a website that provides a forum where ‘third parties can post information’ is not liable for the third party’s posted information.”
The filing continues:
“That is so even when the website performs ‘editorial functions’ ‘such as deciding whether to publish.’ Since WikiLeaks provided a forum for a third party (the unnamed ‘Russian actors’) to publish content developed by that third party (the hacked emails), it cannot be held liable for the publication.”
Carvin further wrote that:
“In addition, the First Amendment generally denies the government power to punish truthful speech.”
Carvin also contended that privacy can’t justify violations of the core norms of the First Amendment.
This same defense could be used for Assange in relation to war logs that are being used against him in his criminal case.
Rumors started to swirl over social media earlier this week that Trump would indeed be pardoning Assange. It started with Pastor Mark Barnes tweeting:
“BREAKING: President Trump will pardon Julian Assange.”
That tweet received 46,000 likes in the first hour it was posted.
Sources who are close to the Trump administration, though, told media outlets that, while there had been talk regarding Assange’s pardon, that nothing had been decided as of yet.
Even still, that tweet received support from Edward Snowden, a whistleblower from the National Security agency. He tweeted:
“I very much hope this is true. The case against Assange is based on a legal theory that would criminalize the work of every journalist, both at home and abroad.”
Earlier in December, Snowden had actually lobbied for Assange to be pardoned, tweeting on December 3:
“Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life.”