Assange Lawyer: U.S. Wants to Get Their "Mitts" on WikiLeaks Founder

Julian Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, discussed the fate of the jailed WikiLeaks founder with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera TV, maintaining that U.S. authorities are trying to get custody of his client.

 "We have heard from the Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury  in Alexandria...just over the river from Washington DC, next to the Pentagon," Stephens said. "They are currently investigating this, and indeed the Swedes we understand have said that if he comes to Sweden, they will defer their  interest in him to the Americans. Now that shows some level of collusion and embarrassment, so it does seem to me what we have here is nothing more than holding ultimately they can get their mitts on him." 

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, "We have a very serious criminal investigation that's underway, and we're looking at all of the things that we can do to try to stem the flow of this information."

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The House Judiciary Committee will hold a Dec. 16 hearing on the potential application of U.S. espionage laws in relation to WikiLeaks, the committee announced on Friday, marking the first such hearing to address the website's recent release of classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

Assange will appear in court Dec. 14 to will fight extradition charges and ask for bail, Stephens said. "Julian remains prepared to meet consensually with the Swedish prosecutor should she care to come to London. There is not a necessity for a show trial if she doesn't want it." Stephens said. "There are a number of Issues in this particular case that raise European Convention and human rights points. It maybe we'll have to wait for the case to go there...that would be seven years," he added.