- Dana Rohrabacher told Assange that he could get a pardon.
- He offered to petition the president if he excluded the Russians from his testimony.
- Assange is fighting extradition.
Former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) presented a pardon offer to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in 2017 if he “said Russia had nothing to do with” leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. This is according to a new proclamation made by his defense team.
Rohrabacher offered to reach out to the White House and obtain a pardon deal reportedly on those conditions. The fiasco had entangled US President Donald Trump. He was, at the time, being investigated for colluding with the Russians in order to undermine US elections and get ahead in the presidential race.
The then-Congressman was allegedly in the company of Charles Johnson, a pro-Trump troll. The two walked to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange was holed up, and dropped the proposition. His lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, was also present at the meeting.
Lawyers representing the United States government have confirmed that the meeting took place and declined to contest any of the presented statements. They, however, argue that the President was markedly not involved in the talks.
According to a statement issued by US legal counsel James Lewis, in regard to this, “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.”
Rohrabacher has previously acknowledged visiting Assange, stating:
“I spoke to Julian Assange and told him if he would provide evidence about who gave WikiLeaks the emails I would petition the president to give him a pardon . . . He knew I could get to the president.”
Assange faces 17 criminal charges brought against him by the United States Department of Justice. The charges were unsealed in April. He was accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
As outlined in the indictment, he illegally obtained and disseminated classified national security information. According to a statement issued by the Justice Department, the reveal was “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”
Assange was arrested in the month of April at the Ecuadorian Embassy in which he had stayed since 2012. The embassy handed him over to the UK authorities after much deliberation. He was immediately sent to prison for violating bail preconditions.
He is currently facing extradition to the United States to face a slew of charges. They cover his alleged liaison with Chelsea Manning to hack into a computer that held sensitive government information.
The attempt, which took place in 2010, led to Manning’s conviction. She was sentenced to seven years in jail after being found to have downloaded thousands of classified US defense documents as well as diplomatic cables.
Assange faces numerous similar counts, with each of them carrying a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. According to the claim issued by the Justice Department, “Assange conspired with Manning; obtained from Manning and aided and abetted her in obtaining classified information.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of the story stated Dana Rohrabacher’s alleged offer of a pardon to Assange was contingent on “if he covered up the Russians’ involvement in hacking emails from the Democratic National Committee.” We regret the error.