Image Source : AP Julian Assange outside a US Courtroom

In a major development, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange pled guilty to one charge of violating US espionage law on Wednesday in a courtroom on the US Pacific island territory of Saipan where he is expected to walk free after a deal with US prosecutors. Assange, 52, arrived at the courthouse in a white SUV. He was wearing a black suit and smiled as he walked past security with his team and Australia’s ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd. “I watch this and think how overloaded his senses must be, walking through the press scrum after years of sensory deprivation and the four walls of his high-security Belmarsh prison cell,” Stella Assange, the wife of WikiLeaks founder said on social media platform X.

Assange had agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified US national defence documents, according to filings in the US District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

The US territory in the western Pacific was chosen due to Assange’s opposition to travelling to the mainland US and for its proximity to Australia, prosecutors said. If the judge approves his plea, Assange is expected to return to his home in Australia, US prosecutors have said.

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