Julian Assange arrested in London

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Nick Thompson, Brian Ries and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 4:00 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019
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11:30 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

More charges expected against Assange in US hacking case

From CNN's Evan Perez

US Justice Department officials expect to bring additional charges Assange, according to a US official briefed on the matter. It is unclear when officials would bring such charges.

The years-long FBI investigation into Assange transformed in recent years with the recovery of communications that prosecutors believe shows Assange had been been a more active participant in a conspiracy to hack computers and violate US law, officials say. 

The Justice Department had struggled for years with the question of whether Assange and WikiLeaks should be treated as journalists and publishers. News organizations similarly published stolen classified documents, some even worked with WikiLeaks to get access to documents and publish stories. 

The view among prosecutors began changing late in the Obama administration, in part due to new evidence the FBI believed showed Assange was not entitled to journalistic protections. 

In 2017, the WikiLeaks publication of stolen CIA hacking codes helped propel the case against Assange, according to current and former US law enforcement officials. 

Read more below:

11:20 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Assange is facing a year in jail for skipping out on bail

From CNN's Muhammad Darwish at Westminster Magistrates Court, London

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now facing up to 12 months behind bars after being found guilty of breaking his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012.

A date has yet to be set for his sentencing at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Assange has been remanded in custody until his May 2 extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court.

11:18 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

UK Home Secretary: Both Ecuador and the UK were increasingly concerned over Assange's health

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid on April 4.
Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid on April 4. Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

The UK's Home Secretary Sajid Javid addressed the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon for the first time since Julian Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy and arrested.  

Javid told members of parliament that both the UK and Ecuadorian government had "become increasingly concerned about the state of Mr. Assange's health."

The first action of London's Metropolitan Police was to have him medically assessed and deemed fit to detain, he said, adding that Assange had received access to doctors while holed up within his diplomatic shelter.

Javid then outlined how court proceedings would play out: Under UK law, following the provisional arrest, the full extradition papers must be received by the judge within 65 days. The extradition request must be certified by Home Office before going to court, Javid said.  

"I am glad the situation in the Ecuadorian embassy has been brought to an end," Javid said in closing. "It is right that we implement the judicial process fairly and consistently with due respect for equality before the law."

10:55 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

How this media outlet landed the Assange arrest scoop

From CNN's Hadas Gold

Apart from the odd special appearance from the Ecuadorian embassy's balcony, Julian Assange hadn't been seen outside in seven years. It was a moment that global news organizations were desperate to show their audiences. In the end, the only media outlet with video of the moment was an outfit called Ruptly.

Founded in 2013, Ruptly -- which has carved out a niche for itself by recording events around the world and selling the footage to other broadcasters -- is a subsidiary of Russian state-backed media outlet RT.

Laura Lucchini, Ruptly's deputy head of news, said its staff had been recording events outside the embassy 24/7 since at least April 5.

"For the last week, we closely monitored developments on this story while our team of producers worked in shifts, filming the embassy 24/7. On many of these days and nights, there were no developments. We saw camera crews come and go. But we stayed. We believe that these images hold great news value."

According to the Guardian, after it started to seem in recent weeks that an arrest might be imminent, big UK broadcasters had formed a "pool" arrangement to take turns staking out the building. If something happened, the footage would be shared among the pool members. 

That effort appeared to have been abandoned when the arrest failed to materialize. The BBC, ITN and Sky News did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

10:36 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Ecuador says Assange put feces on embassy walls

From CNN's Ana Melgar and Radina Gigova in Atlanta

Ecuador’s Interior Minister María Paula Romo says Julian Assange's asylum was revoked because there was sufficient evidence that he was meddling in Ecuador's internal affairs in an effort to destabilize the government.

Romo also reiterated President Lenin Moreno's remarks that Assange was consistently violating embassy residency rules, and specifically called out how he would put feces on the walls.

"For several years now, one of the key members of the WikiLeaks organization and a person close to Assange has lived in Ecuador," Romo said at a press conference Thursday. 

This member "works closely and has traveled with Ricardo Patiño to Peru, Spain and Russia."

Patiño was chancellor during the government of former president of Correa, who was in power when Assange was granted asylum.

CNN has reached out to Chancellor Patiño. Previously Patiño defended the innocence of Assange saying his fight was a "fight for freedom of expression."

Two Russian hackers are also suspected of meddling in the attempt to destabilize the government and their information will be delivered to the Office of the Attorney General of Ecuador, Romi said.

"We are not going to allow Ecuador to become a hacking center and we cannot allow illegal activities to take place in the country in order to harm citizens or other governments," Rome said. The authorities did not clarify whether these people have been detained or only identified.

The interior minister said that "in the next few hours" the government of Ecuador will provide additional evidence that justifies the decision to end Assange’s asylum.

During former President Correa's government and while Patiño was chancellor, "they tolerated things like Assange putting feces on the embassy walls and other behaviors far from the minimum respect that a guest can have," said Romo.

10:29 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Here's the timeline of Assange's arrest today

From CNN's Muhammad Darwish at Westminster Magistrates Court, London

Julian Assange gives a thumbs up to onlookers from inside a police van in London on Thursday.
Julian Assange gives a thumbs up to onlookers from inside a police van in London on Thursday.

More details around Julian Assange's dramatic ejection from the Ecuadorian embassy are emerging.

A lawyer for the US government revealed arrest officers went to the embassy at 9.15 a.m. local time (4.15 a.m. ET), where ambassadors met them. The ambassador then revoked Assange's asylum and met with him at 10 a.m. (5 a.m. ET). The lawyer said officers tried to introduce themselves, but Assange barged past them in an attempt to return to a private room.

He was eventually arrested at 10.15 a.m. (5.15 a.m. ET) but resisted and had to restrained, leading to the dramatic scenes of British police hauling him by force out of the building.

After being lifted into the waiting police van, he was taken directly to a police station where he was formally arrested.

10:30 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

How self-imposed exile changed Assange

Analysis from CNN's Atika Shubert

Watching the video of his arrest earlier, I was shocked to see how much Assange has aged. His tall frame bent over by the police dragging him out.  He looked desperate and cornered. He was not the confident, daring -- and often calculating -- transparency activist I once knew.

The last time I saw Assange was just after he claimed asylum in the embassy, nearly seven years ago. He was in good health then and fairly optimistic that he could still run WikiLeaks from the embassy. 

I don’t think Assange had any idea he would be in there for so long. He didn’t even have his own window to look out on the world.  He needed a sun lamp to simulate natural light. For the first few weeks, there wasn’t even a proper shower for him. That had to be installed later.   

He told me it was like living on a space ship. His friends worried about his health and bought him an exercise machine. Celebrity guests would sometimes visit and that would make a big splash in the news. But it was a lonely existence, and friends brought him a kitten to keep him company.  

And then there was the 24-hour police surveillance outside the embassy. I cannot fathom the toll it must have had on his physical and mental health. 

Assange had always maintained that he was not afraid of facing allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, which is what the original arrest warrant was for. He was more concerned that it was a ploy -- he called it once a "honey trap" -- to get him extradited to the US on charges of espionage. 

Remember that -- before the DNC leaks, before allegations of Russia collusion, before Trump’s declarations of "I love WikiLeaks!" -- Assange and WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of classified documents leaked to him by former Army private and whistleblower, Chelsea Manning. 

That was unprecedented. It made WikiLeaks what it is today. And Assange was convinced that the US government was coming after him, that a grand jury had issued a sealed indictment charging him with criminal acts. 

Today, it seems, Assange was right. 

10:17 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

An Interpol "red notice" for Assange was issued at least 8 years ago, diplomatic source says

From CNN's Nina dos Santos in London

An Interpol "red notice" issued by the US Department of Homeland Security in the name of Julian Assange has been in circulation since at least March 2011, according to a diplomatic source with first-hand knowledge of the document.

The source said the red notice did not mention any charges in particular at the time.

What is a red notice? It is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action, according to Interpol. It is not an arrest warrant.

10:09 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Judge finds Assange guilty of breaking bail conditions, orders him to appear in court on May 2

From CNN's Muhammad Darwish at Westminster Magistrates Court, London

Back inside the courtroom, one of Assange's lawyers argued that he did not surrender for bail back in 2012 because he would never have received a fair trial and was thus forced to seek asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy.

The judge appeared to dispute this and called the Australian WikiLeaks founder a “narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest.”

The judge found Assange guilty of breaking his bail conditions and ordered him to appear on May 2 for an extradition hearing. Until then, he said Assange would remain in custody.

The hearing has now ended.