[Headline from DRJ]
Law & Crime: Top Legal Takeaways on the Implications of the Julian Assange Superseding Indictment
Conversation and commentary immediately centered on the First Amendment implications of the charges. Since it is true that there has “never previously been a successful prosecution of a third party (as opposed to the leaker)” under the Espionage Act, the case is shaping up to be a “major test case of whether the First Amendment protects the right to publish,” University of Texas Law Prof. Steve Vladeck explained.
As Vladeck noted, the issue here–and this is why there are plenty of journalists sounding the alarm–is that the Espionage Act “doesn’t distinguish between what Assange allegedly did and what mainstream outlets sometimes do, even if the underlying facts/motives are radically different.”
National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss told Law&Crime that if the DOJ actually prosecutes Assange and gets a conviction the chilling effect on media outlets will be very real.