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Trump wants to jail Assange to ‘keep him quiet,’ extradition case hears

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump wants to jail WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and “keep him quiet,” an extradition hearing in London heard today.

Lawyer Eric Lewis told the Old Bailey that the US Department of Justice has become “highly politicised” and that Attorney General William Barr “sees himself as President Trump’s hand.”

Mr Lewis asserted: “WikiLeaks and Mr Assange pose a threat to the legitimacy of Trump’s [election] campaign, one that he is desperate to squash by diverting attention and imprisoning Mr Assange.”

He said there had been an “assault” on the Justice Department since Mr Trump’s election and “intense pressure” applied to prosecutors to indict Assange. 

Mr Lewis cited the 1,900 prosecutors who signed a letter calling for Mr Barr to resign in May because of his “assault on the rule of law.”

He characterised the attempted prosecution of  Mr Assange as violating “an unbroken line of practice not to prosecute for the publication of leaked documents.”

Tom Durkin, who has 47 years’ experience in US law, said: “I don’t believe [Assange] would get what I would call a fair trial in the United States.”

The extradition case at the Old Bailey is expected to continue for four weeks.

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