Shortly after being removed and arrested from Ecuador embassy in London, Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange is officially being charged for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” and agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer.
The US Justice Department brought these charges upon Assange, and further added that this charge is in relation to “Assange's alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”
This is the same allegation that was made against Chelsea Manning trial back in 2013. Manning was ultimately found guilty of theft and espionage in relation to classified government documents being released. Assange's asylum was revoked by Ecuadorian government and was then arrested. Now he faced extradition to the US to face charges before the US government.
“Assange's alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”
US Justice Department alleges that Assange conspired to assist Manning in breaking a password that allowed direct access to US Department of Defense computers which contained classified information. It's alleged that this took place in March of 2010 when Manning was already using her access to download documents and send them to WikiLeaks. While both communicated, it's alleged that Assange continued to encourage Manning to provide more information, even while Manning said there was nothing left to provide.
If Assange is found guilty, he faced up to five years in prison. However, Justice Department notes that actual punishments are usually less than the stated maximum penalty. While Assange could face this punishment, there could be additional charges brought against him when brought to the US.
While the US seeks to have Assange extradited and stand trial, they must wait until Assange can be extradited from the UK. This process can take months or even years for that matter. If a UK judge agrees to have Assange extradited, it's highly likely that Assange will appeal the decision that will further delay through the UK court system.
Assange is set to appear in a UK court on May 2nd. During that time, US extradition request for Assange will also be discussed.