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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/26/20

FINAL REPORT: ASSANGE HEARING DAY 14--Baraitser Grants Defense 4 Weeks to Prepare for Final Argument, Citing US Election

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The Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey
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5:49 am EDT: Judge Vanessa Baraitser has granted the defense four weeks to prepare its closing argument, saying that her decision would come after the Nov. 4 U.S. election one way or the other. She had been previously reluctant to give more than a week to the defense.

Baraitser set the date of final arguments for Nov. 16. Fitzgerald had told the judge that:

"It seems unlikely for you to make a judgement before Nov. 3 and you would have to bear in mind that the future is uncertain. Much of what we say about Trump is because this proceeding was initiated by Trump..and some elements of the case would be worse if Trump were there [re-elected]."

Baraitser had raised the issue of the election and how it might impact the hearing. She said: "That's one of the factors going into my decision."

"I agree that one way or the other my decision will come after an election in the United States. For that reason I find no reason not to give you the four weeks," she said.

Baraitser said she could not yet set a judgement day. "That means for your client there will be no decision until the new year, if he appreciates that."

Reacting to her decision, Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said: "District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has acknowledged what has been clear since even before the first indictment against Julian Assange was unsealed that this is a politically motivated prosecution."

5:28 am EDT: Defense attorney Mark Summers asked Judge Vanessa Baraitser to give defense witness Patrick Eller, chief executive of Metadata Forensics, an hour to read a prosecution bundle of statements sent to the defense at 11:30 pm on Thursday night.

Summers said that Eller's written testimony was submitted nine months ago. Summers said it has two propositions: "that the alleged passcode hash conspiracy was impossible, but even if it were possible, it had no utility to what is attributed to it."

The U.S. government has charged Assange with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion with Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks' source.

Summers said that U.S. Assistant Attorney Gordon Kromberg replied in his affidavit initially only to Eller's first proposition, and only late at night on Thursday to the second.

Summers appealed for an hour for Eller to read the prosecution's last minute submissions and Baraitser granted it.

Eller is described on his LinkedIn page as a digital forensic examiner, expert witness, principal consultant, adjunct professor, disabled veteran and retired special agent.

Baraitser Refuses New Defense Witness to Challenge Kromberg

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