Michael Moore Pledges $20,000 Towards Julian Assange's Bail

Filmmaker Michael Moore is among many notable supporters of Julian Assange; the outspoken activist pledged $20,000 towards Assange's bail on Tuesday.
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Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, could have Michael Moore to thank if he makes bail - at least in part.

After his first request was denied last week, Assange was granted bail in a London court Tuesday, though he will remain in custody pending an appeal of the ruling by Swedish prosecutors.

The court set bail at 240,000 British pounds, or $378,840, but included strict monitoring conditions to go along with it, including wearing an electronic monitoring device, staying at a registered address, checking in with London police daily and observing curfews.

A portion of this, $20,000, was promised on Tuesday by filmmaker and activist Michael Moore, known for directing movies like Fahrenheit 9/11 and his outspoken liberal beliefs.

On Tuesday morning, Moore posted information on his website as to why he chose to support Assange and contribute to his bail.

"I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars," he said.

Moore went on to criticize prominent political figures who have been criticizing Assange and WikiLeaks, including Sen. Joseph Leiberman and Sarah Palin.

"Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt," he added.

Also posted to his website was the official witness statement he submitted to the court.

Julian Assange arrives in court in London for bail proceedings Tuesday. At the close of the day, he was offered bail pending an appeal from Swedish authorities.
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According to the Daily Mail, Moore promised $20,000 in surety - to be paid if Assange absconds on bail. However, Assange and his lawyers still must fulfill the court's requirement for �£200,000 in security, which must be paid upfront in cash.

Other public figures who have pledged money in support of Assange include socialite Jemima Khan and filmmaker Ken Loach. However, the money may not immediately be available for the WikiLeaks founder. According to his lawyer Mark Stevens, it could take a long time for that money to actually materialize.

"It's impossible to say how long it will take," Stephens told reporters outside City of Westminster Magistrates' Court. "Whatever happens, Mr. Assange will have to stay behind bars."

Stevens added that some of the celebrities backing Mr. Assange had gone away to see if they can gather more contributions to be able to raise the full amount of bail. The bail cannot be paid by check because it could take seven days to clear.

"The begging bowl is out," he added. "Until this court is in possession of �£200,000, an innocent man stays in jail."

Assange has been held on an international arrest warrant as Swedish authorities pursue a sex crimes investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing.

He is due back in court Jan. 11, with a full hearing scheduled for Feb. 7 and 8.


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