US preparing charges against Julian Assange: report

US preparing charges against Julian Assange: report
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The United States is preparing charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, CNN reported Thursday.

U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN that prosecutors have found a way to move forward, after struggling to determine whether the First Amended protected Assange from prosecution.

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The Justice Department's investigation of WikiLeaks can be traced back to 2010, after thousands of U.S. government files stolen by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning appeared on the website.

According to CNN, former President Obama's Justice Department decided not to pursue charges against Assange because other mainstream publications also decided to publish the documents.

U.S. officials involved in the process at the time told the news network that many of the charges were put on hold while an investigation into Assange continued.

Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack, defended WikiLeaks, stating that the the publication should not be treated differently from other mainstream media websites.

He also noted that the Justice Department has not informed Assange of any charges.

"We've had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange," Pollack said, according to CNN.

"They've been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange's status is in any pending investigations. There's no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher," he added.

Some U.S. officials, including President Trump's CIA Director Mike Pompeo have recently accused WikiLeaks of being a tool used by Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.