Lawyer: Assange was offered US pardon if he cleared Russia

Badges worn by a demonstrator outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. A case-management hearing regarding Julian Assange will be heard at the court Wednesday. It comes just five days before the extradition hearing beginning Feb. 24, at Woolwich Crown Court, in which both Julian Assange and the broader issues of press freedom will be at stake. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) — A lawyer for Julian Assange says the WikiLeaks founder plans to claim during his extradition hearing that the Trump administration offered to pardon him if he agreed to say Russia wasn’t involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails.

Assange is fighting extradition to the United States on spying charges.

At a hearing in London on Wednesday, lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said there was evidence then-Congressman Dana Rohrabacher delivered the pardon offer on President Donald Trump’s instructions in 2017.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the claims “a complete fabrication and a total lie.”

Grisham says Trump “barely knows" Rohrabacher and had “never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject.”

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