In 2006, Risen, a New York Times reporter and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, published a book, The State of War, about the illegal use of the CIA by then US President George W. Bush's administration. Shortly after the book was published, Jefreyy Sterling was indicted on charges of illegally obtaining CIA documents and passing classified government documents to Risen. Risen refused to reveal his source for a long time. Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper interviewed Sterling, who was in Italy for the International Journalism Festival and was released after serving more than two years of his 3.5-year sentence.


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Jeffrey Sterling asked Jeffrey Sterling about the case of Julian Assange, who in October 2010 released thousands of classified documents that provide evidence of US crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the extradition case at the High Court in London, the court ruled that Assange could not be extradited immediately and adjourned the case until May 20. The High Court had demanded further assurances from the US authorities on Assange's fate. These assurances are expected on whether Assange can invoke the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which covers freedom of expression, and whether he could face the death penalty. In a question on these issues, Sterling was asked:

"You were charged with violating the Espionage Act in the Eastern District of Virginia, the court in the state where the CIA and the Pentagon are headquartered and which prosecutes some of the most high-profile terrorism and national security cases. It is the same court where Julian Assange is on trial for alleged Espionage Act violations. US officials claim that Assange would receive a fair trial and humane treatment if extradited and tried in the US: 'He doesn't have to fear the truth and a trial because he will be able to defend himself.' In your experience, does the WikiLeaks founder stand a chance of a fair trial and humane treatment?"


On the question of whether Julian Assange would receive a fair trial, Jeffrey Sterling responded that Julian Assange 'has no chance of a fair trial' and will not receive humane treatment, and that the government has no obligation to prove its allegations in charges under the Espionage Act.

Sterling said: "Assange has absolutely no chance of a fair trial and he will not receive humane treatment. First, it is literally impossible for anyone in a fair trial to defend against a charge under the Espionage Act. This is the law of strict liability, which means that once you are accused, you are guilty. Truth is no defense, in fact any defense of the truth would be prohibited. Assange will also not have access to any of the so-called "evidence" used against him. And to make it even more difficult, the government does not have to show the alleged harm. It is a law and prosecution that the government says it wants. It is a 'because we say so' law that will not be questioned or challenged.

Any trial will be held in the Eastern District of Virginia, the backyard of the intelligence community. It is entirely in the government's interest to have a trial there. During my trial, almost every member of the jury pool had a connection to the intelligence community, either as a current or former employee, or had friends or relatives who worked there. This connection automatically biases them against the defendants, especially when intelligence is involved. Any jury that decides on Assange will see nothing but what the government has to say about Assange."