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Assange Due Back in Court

Assange is reportedly backpedaling on his threat to release documents he claimed would bring down a big American bank

Julian Assange, fresh from his Christmas house arrest in an English country mansion owned by his new BFF Vaughan Smith, is supposed to show up in a London magistrate’s court Tuesday morning British time to sort out the evidence ahead of his two-day extradition hearing next month.

Assange is fighting to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of rape.

He will apparently be represented by human-rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson, who successfully defended Salman Rushdie against charges his novel “Satanic Verses” defamed the prophet Mohammed.

Otherwise Assange is reportedly backpedaling on his threat to release documents he claimed would bring down a big American bank.

He was supposed to release the alleged documents early this year but he told Swiss newspapers that WikiLeaks is swamped with its trove of diplomatic cables while it’s supposedly losing $600,000 a day.

Assange is supposed to be writing a book to help pay his legal bills, which may be mounting again since it became clear that the Justice Department had served Twitter with a federal subpoena last month demanding the account details of people like Assange, suspected cable leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning and former WikiLeaks spokeswoman, now an Iceland MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

The AP got a copy of the subpoena which said the information was for an “ongoing criminal investigation” and involves stuff like IP addresses, session times, e-mails, physical addresses, phone numbers, private messages and billing information.

WikiLeaks suspects Google, Facebook and Skype have also been secretly served but Twitter insisted on notifying the people involved and got the court order unsealed so the targets of the investigation could try to quash the order on their own.

Assange lawyer Mark Stephens called it harassment and illegal search and seizure and Iceland’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the US Ambassador to Reykjavik.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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