A lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told a British court Friday that she witnessed an ally of President Trump offering to arrange a pardon for Assange in exchange for information that would "benefit President Trump politically."
The witness account provided by Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, identified a 2017 meeting between the now former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy where Assange had been holed up since 2012 to avoid extradition charges to Sweden on an alleged sex crime charge that has since been dropped.
According to Robinson's testimony, Rohrabacher and an assistant proposed that if Assange identified the source of the 2016 hacking of Democratic emails, President Trump was willing to offer "some form of pardon, assurance or agreement, which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent U.S. indictment and extradition."
Assange's legal team first made this claim earlier this year as it tries to fight extradition to the United States, where he is charged with conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law of the release of confidential cables by Wikileaks in 2010 and 2011.
The White House has called that assertion a "total lie."
For his part, Rohrabacher in the past denied the claim that he was serving as Trump's emissary when he went to visit Assange.
Wikileaks is at the center of controversy still swirling around the 2016 race for the White House. U.S. investigators have concluded that the hacked emails released from the Democratic National Committee which damaged 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were stolen by Russia to sway that year's election.
WikiLeaks published those emails, and Trump repeatedly referred to them in the campaign's final stretch.
(NAT TRUMP)"It’s been amazing what’s coming out on WikiLeaks."
(NAT TRUMP) Wikileaks! I love Wikileaks!
The 2016 election leaks are not directly a part of the current U.S. criminal case seeking to bring Assange to the U.S.