James Doleman
@jamesdoleman
Wed Sep 09 13:02:07 +0000 2020

Back in court at the Julian #Assange case, now awaiting the judge.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser enters court and proceedings begin.
#Assange

Technical issues with the video link to the next witness causing a slight delay.
#Assange

Proceedings resume with the next defence witness, Trevor Timm, via video link from the USA.
#Assange

Timm tells the court he runs the Freedom of the Press foundation in the USA.

#Assange

Mark Summers QC, for #Assange asks Timm about US press law and the 1st amendment as it applies to press freedom.
He quotes a former NYT editor, "without access to secrets there is no reporting." and notes the Supreme Court overuled the government over the Pentagon papers

Timm testifies that there has been a number of attempts by the US government to use the espionage act against journalists, none have ever been succesful.
#Assange

Timm says that if the espionage act charges against #Assange it would "criminalise every journalist," and they were opposed by almost every First ammendemt supporter and major newspaper.
#Assange

Timm tellls the court that if the rules being applied to Assange had been in place in the 1970s Watergate reposrters Woodward and Bernstein would have been criminalised.

The witness tells the court that if asking a source for classified information in illegal the the secure "dropbox" systems used by many papers for whistleblowers would also be illegal.
#Assange

Timm "I myself have advocated for leaks in cases where the US secrecy system is hiding abuse, corruption, or illegal acts, and no-one has ever suggested I was committing a criminal act.
#Assange

James Lewis QC for US Government now cross-examining Timm, begins by questioning his status as an "expert witness."
#Assange

Timm agrees that his organisation has contributed $100,000 to Assange’s legal costs.

The prosecution QC says this shows Timm us not an unbiased witness, as he has a clear conflict of interest.
#Assange

Lewis tells the court that the prosecution do not regard Julian Assange as a journalist. Timm replies that it is not up to the government to decide who is a journalist it is the right of everyone, and thet Assange was engaged in journalistic activities

Timm is asked if he has been watching previous witnesses give evidence on the video link, he says no, but he has been following the case via reporters on twitter and press reports.
#Assange

Lewis points to a US justice department statement that #Assange was not being prosecuted for publication of classified material.
Timm says he makes his judgement "based on the facts, not US government press releases."

The prosecution counsel asks Timm is he has seen all the evidence in the case, he replies that if there is secret evidence he hasn't.
#Assange

Timm says he has never said wikileaks had perfect editorial judgement, any more that the Guardian or New York Times have, but if bad judgment is criminal many other publications would be under threat.
#Assange

Adding, "It shouldn't be up to the US government to decide if editorial judgment is criminal."

Timm, “The 1st Amendment is not a balancing act, it also covers unpopular speech, or a publication that touches on subject matter that makes some us uncomfortable.”

Lewis asks the witness, "Are you a lawyer? What expertise do you have to give legal advice?"

Timms replies that he graduated from law school in 2008 and was called to the New York Bar."

#Assange

(The prosecution barrister, moves in to a different subject)

Lewis asks the witness why he thinks the prosecution is political, He says that Trump's hostility to journalists is well known and that a number of US prosecutors had refused to get involved in this case due to the 1st amendment issues involved
#Assange

Bit of an argument in court as defence say that Lewis has reached his time limit of one hour.
He vehemenly objects to this, and the judge says he can have more time, he repliues that he was finished anyway.
#Assange

Timms has ended his evidence, the court is now having a case-management discussion about time limits on examination and cross-examination of witnesses.
#Assange

Wed Sep 09 15:20:17 +0000 2020