Biden Refers to Potential Conspiracy Charge Against Julian Assange

This week, the New York Times reported the Justice Department was considering conspiracy charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, rather than espionage charges.

On Meet the Press this morning, Biden said he can't talk about the grand jury investigation. In the next sentence, he said:

If he conspired to get these classified documents with a member of the U.S. Military, that’s fundamentally different than if somebody drops on your lap here.. "Here is-- classified material."

Could he have said any more clearly the grand jury is focused on a charge Assange conspired with Manning?

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  • Display: Sort:
    Those in power (the rich) (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by dead dancer on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 01:51:46 PM EST
    do not like having their dirty laundry on display, and are willing to go to any lengths.

    From most of what i have heard, why were these docs classified anyway. If i call someone a name, is that now classified? Jebus.

    It's not just the "gossip" docs (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 11:58:36 AM EST
    from the State Department - It's the classified documents on the Afghanistan War.

    "high tech terrorist" (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 08:44:28 PM EST
    according to Biden.

    It began with Hillary claiming Assange was perpetrating "an attack on us all."  And it will continue until those seeking to allow some sun to shine in on our Government's actions are branded as "terrorists" in the public mind.  Then the stage will be set for that which civil libertarians have most feared, labeling those who the Government does not like as "terrorists" in order to deny their them their Constitutional rights.

    It was predicted by many the Patriot Act and other abusive Government actions against terrorists would in short order & in the name of combating terrorism be applied to others the Government does not like.

    It's happening.  And Democrats are leading the way.

    Biden... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 10:27:53 AM EST
    is a "half wit tyrant", according to kdog:)

    "Terrorism/terrorist" in newspeak means anybody not on all fours licking big brother's jackboots.


    WSWS on Biden and Wikileaks (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Andreas on Mon Dec 20, 2010 at 12:38:28 AM EST
    Disappointing VP Biden, (3.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 09:42:55 PM EST
    an attorney, cannot discipline himself re commenting re possible grand jury proceedings. (Yes, I know he is a motor-mouth.)

    Can you explan (none / 0) (#1)
    by robotalk on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 12:51:55 PM EST
    how or if using a grand jury exculpates a prosecutor for bringing a case without probable cause or one which is a Constitutional tort?

    Grand juries can indict a ham sandwich. (none / 0) (#2)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 01:11:26 PM EST
    I remember reading that pithy comment somewhere...

    if the grand jury finds (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 01:15:34 PM EST
    no probable cause, it returns a "no bill" or "no true bill" instead of a bill of indictment.

    From the U.S. Attorney's manual:

    bq. Approval Required Prior to Resubmission of Same Matter to Grand Jury: Once a grand jury returns a no-bill or otherwise acts on the merits in declining to return an indictment, the same matter ( i.e., the same transaction or event and the same putative defendant) should not be presented to another grand jury or resubmitted to the same grand jury without first securing the approval of the responsible United States Attorney.


    Just to pursue Jeralyn's comment a bit (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Peter G on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:56:56 PM EST
    The Fifth Amendment, in the Bill of Rights, has a Grand Jury Clause, which provides that no one can be prosecuted for a serious federal offense, such as a felony, except upon indictment of a grand jury.  And as Jeralyn says, the grand jury must decline to indict unless it finds "probable cause" to believe that the person indicted has committed the charged offense.  A federal prosecutor cannot lawfully bring a criminal charge without the support of a grand jury indictment supported by probable cause ... except that a person can be arrested (on a warrant issued by a federal judge, again upon a finding of probable cause to believe a federal crime has been committed by that person), issued on the basis of a sworn "complaint" by a prosecutor or federal agent describing the factual basis for the warrant. The government then has 14 days (or 21 days if the accused is not in custody) to seek and obtain an indictment or the charges must be dismissed.

    How often (none / 0) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 01:24:13 PM EST
    are there 'no bill' returns, Jeralyn? Do grand juries usually offer some indictments, even if not the original charge?

    I'm thinking of the Libby case here as an example. Nobody was charged with the 'outing,' but other charges ensued.


    Also how it's presented (none / 0) (#8)
    by waldenpond on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 03:02:48 PM EST
    On one grand jury I sat on, there were probably 20 charges.  We sent back an indictment because of the facts of one charge but we weren't allowed to indicate which charge..... so a trial would go forth with 20 charges.  Odd.

    Was that a federal grand jury, or state? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 03:40:38 PM EST
    If federal, your story doesn't sound right, as I understand the grand jurors' authority.  Since the Fifth Amendment grand jury clause is one of the very few sections of the Bill of Rights that the Supreme Court has said does not apply to the states as part of "due process," the authority of the prosecutor relative to that of the grand jurors might be very different in a given state court system.

    It was a county case (none / 0) (#10)
    by waldenpond on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 03:49:21 PM EST
    It was against police officers.

    Biden is aiding and abetting real terrorists (none / 0) (#4)
    by Andreas on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 01:19:18 PM EST
    Some of the documents published by Wikileaks prove that the Democratic and Republican despots were and are very active to aid and abet real terrorists such as those who kidnapped Khaled el Masri:


    Taking that into account it is obvious that Joseph Robinette Biden is a leading representative of a terrorist organisation which is conspiring against mankind.

    How long will it take (none / 0) (#11)
    by lausunu on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 04:47:16 PM EST
    to get Manning to implicate Assange, "if he conspired", whether true or not, under the circumstances? My guess, he already has. Probably didn't hold up that well while being waterboarded.

    Now that Biden has defined Assange as a terrorist, if we can just get our hands on him we can hold him forever just for fun to remind the media where they really stand vis a vis the Constitution (quaint little document that it is). Just remember, only publish secrets convenient to government purposes if you know what's good for you.

    Is this a great country or what?

    A good overview of the Espionage Act issues (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 07:29:10 PM EST
    is available today from the UPI's legal analyst, Michael Kirkland, in his column "Under the Supreme Court."