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Justice Department Preparing to Prosecute WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: Report

The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and prosecutors are “increasingly optimistic” they will get him into a U.S. courtroom, The Wall Street Journal reports. Prosecutors have reportedly been discussing what kinds of charges they can bring against Assange, which may reportedly include the Espionage Act. Those familiar with the case told the newspaper “they were encouraged by recent developments,” although they would not say whether discussions about Assange were occurring with the U.K. or Ecuador. Assange has not left the Ecuadorian embassy in London since Ecuador granted him political asylum in 2012. Justice Department has reportedly been probing the WikiLeaks founder since 2010 and mulled over publicly indicting Assange in the hopes that it would give “Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.” According to the Journal, special counsel Robert Mueller portrayed WikiLeaks as a conduit of Russian intelligence to release Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails before the 2016 presidential election. “We have heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent,” Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, told the newspaper. “Prosecuting someone for publishing truthful information would set a terrible and dangerous precedent.”