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Kevin Gosztola
The first day of trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing will begin at the top of the hour. I’ll have live updates at this thread when it begins.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
We're still waiting to begin. Apparently, the temperature in Court No. 10 at the Old Bailey is too hot. Wonder if this will be a problem throughout the day that Assange must deal with while trying to follow proceedings.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
"Court No. 10 here. Would it be possible to bring up Mr. Assange?"
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Judge Baraitser is in court. While waiting for Assange to be brought into the room, she confirms Assange was arrested pursuant to 2nd superseding indictment.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Assange confirms name and date of birth. Old extradition request is withdrawn. Assange has not been able to see the warrant that he was served with, according to defense. Prosecution says Assange was served papers this morning
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
We're dealing with formalities because, flouting US-UK extradition treaty guidelines, the US government issued a superseding indictment mid-process, expanded narrative details, and forced the court to re-arrest Assange. They should've done back in June but had not until today.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Fitzgerald, Assange's lawyer, informs the court he has seen Assange for the first time in six months.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Prosecution: Are you prepared to consent to be extradited? Assange: No (Again, going over formalities we should've been done with months ago.)
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
We're going through housekeeping items. Baraitser ruled that 40 applicants for remote video access were excluded. We have no idea who these people were. It's claimed court administration granted access in error to these individuals.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Another housekeeping item is how testimony will be taken from witnesses and how lawyers will interact with witnesses before and during proceedings.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Fitzgerald says having factual witnesses summarize evidence before cross-examination benefits Assange who has had difficulty accessing this information prior to these proceedings
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
James Lewis (prosecution) says defense is trying to qualify witnesses who are not really experts. For example, Professor Mark Feldstein, he says, just wants to speak about Trump's "war on journalism" and he does not accept that.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Fitzgerald complains to the court, rejecting Lewis' suggestion that witnesses shouldn't spend hour or more going over basis of their opinions. (Prosecution and judge seems to favor submission of statements without those being read or summarized by witnesses publicly.)
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Baraitser: In my view there is no benefit whatsoever in counsel taking witnesses through their statements. They attend court not to repeat evidence but to be tested and challenged on what they've said. But they may have up to 30 min to prepare for proceedings.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Assange's legal team is challenging whether the US government can seek extradition pursuant to new allegations in the latest indictment.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
According to defense, "US have offered no explanation for absence of these allegations from first (or even second) indictment, where allegations date from 2009 and could have been prosecuted at any time in the last decade, including prior to emergence of Swedish proceedings."
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Add: "Neither has there even been explanation for why, in context of these proceedings extant since April 2019, these materials arrive year and half after their commencement, 6 months after opening submissions, and days prior to [trial portion of extradition hearing]."
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
We are breaking for about an hour so Assange can meet in person with his legal team. He has had very limited access to his attorneys during the past 1-2 years.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Court is back from break. We will begin with the defense requesting that the court remove conduct, or fresh allegations, from the new indictment that seems entirely unconnected to publication of Chelsea Manning's disclosures.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Mark Summers, Assange lawyer, is going over the procedural history of the three indictments. 24 June - US issued press release signaling new superseding indictment 2 July - US served new indictment on defense but not court 12 August - US issued fresh extradition request
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Defense says prosecutors notified in opening note that it had not merely added "narrative details." They believe two general allegations bolstered by new indictment could support extradition without proving conduct relating to Manning was criminal (or extraditable).
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
We have first mention of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden by Mark Summers. "Assisting a whistleblower in Hong Kong; attempting to evade arrest. 
How that is said to be criminal activity is anybody’s guess."
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Summers: Issues surrounding sources, including 
how Sabu came to be cooperating with the FBI
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Summers: US request fails to disclose in 2012 "based on ‘Sabu’s cooperation, ‘Topiary’ (Jake Davis) and ‘Kalya’ (Ryan Ackroyd) were prosecuted in connection with their alleged involvement with LulzSec, before Southwark Crown Court." Adds: "The forum bar is obviously engaged."
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Summers mentions Jeremy Hammond and contempt proceedings before the grand jury into WikiLeaks. Then goes on to mention "Teenager," or Siggi, known to US well before now. Was convicted in Iceland of fraud, theft, and impersonation of Assange
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Summers presents the legal argument that supports the court removing conduct from this fresh extradition request that fundamentally alters the prosecution when compared to how Assange's legal team previously understood it
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Reiterating request to remove conduct, Summers declares, "What’s happening here is abnormal, unfair, and liable to create real injustice if allowed to continue."
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Summers points out to court that when defense argues it was necessary for Assange to publish evidence of war crimes the prosecution replies, well, it was not necessary to hack into a bank in Iceland. That is how they are wielding these fresh allegations.
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Prosecutor (I'm not familiar with this person) insists there is nothing improper with serving a new indictment "under cover of a further request" before merits phase of extradition case
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
Prosecutor maintains Judge Baraitser must consider "statutory schemes" before it can exercise power to remove conduct from fresh extradition request
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Kevin Gosztola Sep 7
Replying to @kgosztola
I can barely understand this argument, especially because of the cadence of this lawyer's voice. He keeps emphasizing syllables and varying volume in ways that stab your ears and make it hard to follow the thread.
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