Julian Assange Accepts Plea Deal; Takes Private Flight To Avoid US Mainland

Sweden Announce That They Are Dropping Rape Charges Against Julian Assange

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange reportedly spent $500,000 for a private flight to avoid returning to the American mainland after accepting a plea deal with the U.S. government to be freed from prison on Monday (June 24), the New York Post reports.

Assange, 52, was released from a United Kingdom prison Monday morning and flew from London Stansted Airport to the U.S. territory of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, refusing to set food on American mainland, ahead of his U.S. federal court hearing on the remote island scheduled for Wednesday (June 26) morning. The Wikileaks founder will plead guilty to conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information for releasing classified reports regarding the US military's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on his website, the U.S. Justice Department confirmed in court documents filed on Monday.

Assange reportedly opted to fly to the tropical island as it was only about 1,800 miles from his native Australia, as opposed to Hawaii, which is an estimated 7,000 away.

“He has to front up to charges that have been brought under US law," said Emily Crawford, a Sydney University law school professor, via Reuters. “It had to be US territory but it had to be the US territory closest to Australia that wasn’t a US state like Hawaii,” she added.

Assange was accused in a federal indictment of aiding U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in her theft of thousands of classified military files, which were then published on his website in 2010. Manning was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, but released after a total of seven years' confinement after her sentence was commuted by then-President Barack Obama in January 2017.

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