Matt Dunham, Associated Press
LONDON — Lawyers fighting over the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have returned to court Friday to make their final arguments in a high-profile case that has threatened to overshadow the group's secret-spilling work.
Assange, famous for publishing a massive cache of confidential U.S. military and diplomatic documents, is wanted for questioning in Sweden on sex crimes allegations stemming from a visit he paid to the Scandinavian country last summer.
The 39-year-old Australian is fighting the extradition and denies the allegations.
Both sides were expected to recap the arguments made earlier in the week at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court, with Assange's side arguing that Swedish prosecutors acted improperly and the Swedish government saying it is seeking Assange only after repeatedly failing to pin him down for questioning.
Assange and his supporters say the case against him is riddled with irregularities, with some alleging that it was part of U.S.-led plot to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder or blacken his reputation in retaliation for his spectacular leaks.
Lawyers for Assange's alleged victims and Swedish authorities have all denied the claims. In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask defended her country's court system, saying that Assange was accused of a serious crime and should turn himself in for questioning.
As for the conspiracy claims, Ask said they'd been "taken out of thin air."
"We don't have that influence and should not have that influence on the judiciary," she said.
Britain's Judge Howard Riddle may decide to rule on Assange's case immediately, or, more likely, reserve judgment for a later date. Whatever the decision, it's unlikely to end the legal wrangling as both sides can appeal.
Meanwhile, Assange is out on bail — albeit under strict conditions — at a supporter's country mansion in eastern England.
- Protesters hit the streets for hot day of...
- IOC leaders stop short of complete ban on...
- Hacked emails overshadow Democratic National...
- California fires threaten thousands of homes;...
- 2 years after Ferguson, recriminations roil...
- In wake of email hack, Democratic chair...
- Aussies won't move to Rio village yet; power,...
- 'Vive la France': Chris Froome makes...
- Sarah Silverman: Bernie-or-bust Dems... 49
- If Mitt Romney endorsed Gary Johnson,... 49
- Is Bernie Sanders an atheist? 44
- Trump says Russia should find Clinton's... 43
- Obama boosts Clinton: Carry her like... 41
- Clinton wins historic nomination,... 37
- Hillary Clinton promises steady hand in... 35
- After turmoil, Sanders, Michelle Obama,... 31