Two federal prosecutors involved in the case against Julian Assange argued against the Justice Department’s decision to accuse him of violating the Espionage Act, The Washington Post reports. James Trump, who is well-known for prosecuting leakers, was reportedly among the two prosecutors inside the department who worried that espionage charges against the WikiLeaks founder would set a new precedent for First Amendment protections—a concern many in the media have since echoed. The debate within the Justice Department over how, or whether, to prosecute Assange dates back to the Obama administration. Prosecutors under Obama ultimately decided not to charge Assange under the Espionage Act, but did not formally close the case. The case was dormant until former Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia to reconsider prosecuting Assange. The Trump Justice Department reportedly did not have significant new evidence when they reviewed the case and decided to bring charges.
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