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LIVE UPDATES: ASSANGE HEARING DAY 14—Baraitser Grants Defense 4 Weeks to Prepare for Final Argument, Citing US Election—Consortium News, Sept, 25, 2020

5:49 am EDT:  Judge Vanessa Baraitser has granted the defense four weeks to prepare it closing argument, saying that her decision would come after the Nov. 4 U.S. election one way or the other. She had been previously reluctant to give more than a week to the defense. 

Baraitser set the date of final arguments for Nov. 16.  Fitzgerald had told the judge that:

“It seems unlikely for you to make a judgement before Nov. 4 and you would have to bear in mind that the future is uncertain. Much of what we say about Trump is because this proceeding was initiated by Trump,….and some elements of the case would be worse if Trump were there [re-elected].”  

Baraitser had raised the issue of the election and how it might impact the hearing. She said: “That’s one of the factors going into my decision.”

“I agree that one way or the other my decision will come after an election in the United States. For that reason I find no reason not to give you the four weeks,” she said.

Baraitser said she could not yet set a judgement day. “That means for your client there will be no decision until the new year, if he appreciates that.”

5:28 am EDT: Court is in session.  Defense attorney Mark Summers asked Judge Vanessa Baraitser to give defense witness Patrick Eller, chief executive of Metadata Forensics, an hour to read a prosecution bundle of statements sent to the defense at 11:30 pm on Thursday night. 

Summers said that Eller’s written testimony was submitted nine months ago. Summers said it has two propositions: “that the alleged passcode hash conspiracy was impossible, but even if it were possible, it had no utility to what is attributed to it.” 

The U.S. government has charged Assange with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion with Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks’ source. 

Summers said that U.S. Assistant Attorney Gordon Kromberg replied in his affidavit initially only to Eller’s first proposition, and only late at night on Thursday to the second.

Summers appealed for an hour for Eller to read the prosecution’s last minute submissions and Baraitser granted it. 

Eller is described on his LinkedIn page as a digital forensic examiner, expert witness, principal consultant, adjunct professor, disabled veteran and retired special agent.   

Baraitser Refuses New Defense
Witness to Challenge Kromberg

8:00 am EDT: Baraitser has refused two defense witness statements that Fitzgerald proposed as providing “the other side of the coin” to Kromberg’s affidavit regarding the condition of U.S. prisons, specifically the Alexandria Detention Center, where Assange would be held pre-trial and during the trial, and ADX Florence in Colorado where he would go if convicted.  Kromberg, who maintains there’s no solitary confinement at the ADC, has refused to make himself available for cross examination.

“We have no right to cross examine Kromberg, who can say what ever wants and we have no right to challenge him,” Fitzgerald told Baraitser. “They have no divine right to have the last word.”  Fitzgerald had proposed as his witnesses a former chief psychiatrist at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and a forensic psychiatrist who has made many visits to ADX. 

Baraitser ruled against in the interests of time, she said. She said enough countervailing testimony from defense psychiatrists about U.S. prions had been heard.