Assange extradition hearing unearths surprise Trump allegation

Julian Assange: Trump 'offered pardon for Russia denial'

President Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he covered up Russia's hacking of the DNC's server, attorneys for the Wikileaks founder say, The Daily Beast reports.

Both outlets base their headlines on a revelation from Westminster Magistrates Court, where Assange's barrister Edward Fitzgerald presented a statement from another attorney, Jennifer Robinson, about US Congressman Dana Rohrabaher "going to see Mr. Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr. Assange... said Russian Federation had nothing to do with the DNC leaks".

The Australian-born Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified USA military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

"It is a complete fabrication and a total lie", Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

According to multiple reports quoting Assange's lawyers, the super-leaker's legal team was prepared to show evidence and testimony that former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) visited Assange back in 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital, and made the offer: deny Russian Federation was involved in obtaining the emails from DNC servers, and the Trump administration would provide a "pardon or some other way out" of criminal charges in America. "This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC".

He faces up to 175 years in prison if found guilty.

Assange is facing extradition to the U.S. on 18 charges over leaked diplomatic cables.

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He repeated the trick with the short stick at the next hole, the 188-yard par three, where he missed a 15-foot putt for par. He is skipping this week's World Golf Championship in Mexico City but will play the March 12-15 Players Championship.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Robinson's statement was admissible in court, thereby possibly dragging Trump into the proceedings.

A series of emails embarrassing for the Democrats and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign were hacked before being published by WikiLeaks in 2016. The full extradition hearing starting Monday is due to open with a week of legal arguments.

It is then due to be adjourned before resuming on May 18 with three weeks of evidence.

The Australian has been in London's Belmarsh prison since he was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy where he sought refuge after skipping bail to avoid questioning in a Swedish sexual-assault case in April.

Our Europe Correspondent, Samantha Hawley was at the court in London.

He spoke to confirm his name and date of birth, and sat holding a stack of papers during the hearing.

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