Lawyer: Assange accusers are WikiLeaks fans, not CIA agents

By Daniel Tencer
Sunday, December 26, 2010 12:29 EDT
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A lawyer for two women who have accused Julian Assange of sexual impropriety is fighting back against claims the women have links to the CIA and are motivated by revenge or money.

Claes Borgstrom, a Swedish lawyer known for specializing in gender cases, told the media Friday that it’s “very upsetting” to hear claims that the women’s allegations are a smear campaign.

Assange has been “spreading false rumors that he knows are untrue. It’s reckless against these two women,” Borgstrom said. “They, too, are supporters of WikiLeaks. They support its work.”

Assange is under virtual house arrest in Britain after being let out on bail earlier this month. He was arrested on an Interpol warrant, and is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations made by Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen.

Ardin has previously sent Twitter messages indicating she supports secrets site WikiLeaks. She has been the target of speculation that she has links to the CIA.

In an interview with the subscriber-only Times of London, Assange said there is “very suggestive evidence” that his accusers were motivated by revenge and may have been subject to police pressure.

“There is no truth to this whatsoever,” Borgstrom said.

AP reports:

[Assange] met both women in connection with a lecture on Aug. 14 in Stockholm. One, a 31-year-old, was involved in organizing the event for Sweden’s left-wing Social Democratic Party and offered to host Assange at her apartment. The other, a few years younger, was in the audience.

Assange had sex with both within a week, police documents show. The women realized that when the younger woman contacted the older one seeking to get in touch with Assange. They went to police together, not to file criminal complaint, but to seek advice, Borgstrom said.

A policewoman who heard their stories decided there was reason to suspect they were victims of sex crimes and handed over the case to a prosecutor.

Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning on suspicion of sexual assault and unlawful coercion — the basis of the Interpol warrant — but he has not been charged with any crime in the investigation that began in August. His lawyers say Sweden is in talks about having him extradited to face US charges.

In recent interviews, Assange said he feared he would be killed “Jack Ruby-style” if he ended up in a US prison on espionage or conspiracy charges. He has also said it would be “politically impossible” for Britain to extradite him to the US, because of the public perception that his legal troubles are politically motivated.

WikiLeaks continues to release US State Department cables, part of a cache of 250,000 such documents it has been slowly releasing for the past month.

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