WikiLeaks founder Assange’s Swedish rape case could hamper extradition to U.S., Napolitano says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may prefer to face rape charges in Sweden from nearly a decade ago because a provision in that nation’s extradition treaty with the U.S. protects him from being sent to Washington to answer for conspiracy charges, according to Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Judge Andrew Napolitano made that case Monday on “America’s Newsroom,” saying that the Swedish government has a “political defense” provision, which precludes extradition for reasons “connected to politics.”

“The extradition treaty the U.S. has with Sweden provides for political defense. Meaning, if the reason for the extradition is connected to politics, and there are statements from the president and from Secretary Pompeo to support that, they won’t extradite him,” Napolitano said.

If Assange is successful with such a “political defense,” Sweden would not be required to send him to the United States, he said.

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Napolitano said that, in contrast, the U.S. government must only “demonstrate” to London that Assange will be prosecuted for the charges at hand and “not add more charges once he gets here,” they will send him to Washington.

British authorities, who are currently holding Assange on a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012, will be in charge of deciding whether to extradite him to Sweden or the United States first, Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot reported earlier on “America’s Newsroom.”

Napolitano said Sweden previously dropped the charges they are now presenting against him, and that Assange will “probably win the rape charge if he’s tried.”

The charges were initially brought in 2010. Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson announced last week that the country would reopen the case against Assange. She said that “there is still a probable cause to suspect that Assange committed a rape.”

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In the U.S., Assange faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion – connected to his work aiding NSA leaker Chelsea Manning in cracking a password that helped her gain access to classified government files in 2010, Fox News previously reported.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.