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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/10/20

ASSANGE HEARING DAY FOUR: Hearing Adjourned to Monday While Lawyer Who Was in Court is Tested for Covid-19

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6:24 am EDT: Judge Vanessa Baraitser has adjourned the hearing of Julian Assange until next Monday while a COVID-19 test result is awaited for a lawyer who appeared in the courtroom on Wednesday. Edward Fitzgerald, a lawyer for the defense, told the court:

"We shouldn't be here. Covid could be here in this courtroom. The staff and you yourself [addressing Baraitser] may be at risk, and finally our client whose vulnerabilities you are aware of, would be at risk.

"Until we have a result we could make this remote, but you are aware of the technical difficulties and you have said the hearing... should be held in court," Fitzgerald said. "It would not be fair if our client is not present."

Fitzgerald said, "We don't think it is possible to go ahead until we have a result" of the test from the attorney who was in the courtroom on Wednesday. James Lewis, speaking for the prosecution via video-link from his London flat, agreed with Fitzgerald.

He said: "We agree it would be best if we adjourned until Monday to know whether or not the test is positive. It would be highly unsatisfactory by tomorrow" to conduct the hearing remotely, he said. "It's not easy to cross examine someone by video link. We have layers of technical difficulties. All I can see now is the back of Mr. Fitzgerald's jacket frozen on the screen. It is unsatisfactory to deal with him that way."

Baraitser said after hearing from both sides that she'd agree to an adjournment until Monday, but reserved the right to continue the hearing via remote access, despite Fitzgerald's and Lewis' concerns. The judge said the test would take place on Thursday and the result would be known on Friday.

5:58 am EDT: Court News UK is reporting that the husband of one of the U.S. lawyers in court has "Covid-like symptoms" and Judge Vanessa Baraitser will determine how to proceed after he is tested. Monitoring the video of court, we heard prosecutor James Lewis say he was in his flat. He said he couldn't get home last night, and is apparently not at home to self-isolate, Baraitser herself has appeared in the courtroom.

5 am EDT: The start of the fourth day of the resumption of Julian Assange's extradition has been delayed. Assange's defense team have slated only one witness on Thursday, American lawyer Eric Lewis, who wrote this piece last year in The Independent saying he did not want to see Assange extradited to his country.

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