A United States federal judge is seeking access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — currently in jail in the United Kingdom — for his testimony in a civil suit involving Fox News and the family of the late Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staff member.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn made the request to the British courts in a filing Wednesday, according to a copy obtained by Just the News.
The civil suit at the center of the request was originally brought by Joel and Mary Rich, the parents of Seth, against Fox News over an article linking their son to Assange and WikiLeaks.
Although it was dismissed in 2018, the lawsuit was reinstated by an appeals court. Fox News eventually retracted the article.
If the judge’s request is accepted, Assange could be asked 20 questions listed in the legal document, including several relating to Seth Rich, 27, who was shot to death in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016.
No one has been arrested in that case.
In London, Assange is battling extradition to the United States on espionage charges that he unlawfully published names of classified sources connected to the U.S. government a decade ago.
British police arrested Assange in April 2019 after the South American nation of Ecuador revoked the political asylum it had given him for nearly seven years.
Assange originally skipped bail in the U.K. while waiting to be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault accusations, and he hid for almost seven years inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Meanwhile, while police think the killing of Seth Rich was an armed robbery gone wrong, some theories claim Rich was targeted for his alleged involvement in sensitive political leaks.
Rich is speculated by some to have been at the center of Democratic National Committee email leaks that rocked the 2016 election.
WikiLeaks took a heavy interest in the killing, offering $130,000 for information about the death of Rich.
Reward for the killers of Seth Rich is now $130,000 https://t.co/KAiNFJusIb
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 19, 2017
Assange would be asked about any contact with Rich or his family, the DNC email leaks, and the reason for WikiLeaks’ reward offer.
It’s unclear if this testimony is possible given the reportedly poor health of Assange, 49.
With Assange’s arrest in London last year, his years-long stint as a virtual prisoner seemingly caused the decline in his physical and mental health.
The WikiLeaks founder apparently was so ill in 2019 that he missed a court hearing. Given the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unlikely Assange would be able to offer anything more than video testimony.
With his health decline happening during a pandemic, it’s clear that time is of the essence.
While he might not be able to give the nation closure on the death of Rich, it’s clear that Assange is a vital witness whose testimony needs to be heard.
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