President Donald Trump offered to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange provided he divulge the source for the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails before the 2016 presidential election.
Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told a London court on Friday that she observed a meeting where former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Charles Johnson, an associate known to have close ties to the Trump campaign, made the offer in 2017.
Robinson said Assange was told that Trump approved of the meeting and that Rohrabacher would later meet with the president to discuss the reaction to the proposed deal.
She said the deal was presented to Assange as a “win-win” solution that would allow him “to get on with his life” and in return would also politically benefit Trump.
Robinson said in a witness statement given to the court:
“The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr. Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some form of pardon,”
In 2016 Wikileaks published a series of embarrassing DNC emails that exposed the hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
US intelligence agencies believe the emails that Wikileaks published were hacked by Russia as part of its effort to influence the election.
Moscow has denied meddling in the 2016 election, and an investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller exonerated President Trump and his campaign of colluding with anyone in Russia.
Australian-born Assange, 49, is fighting to stop being sent to the United States, where he is charged with conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law over the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.