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US to lay out case against Assange at extradition hearing

LONDON (AP) -- The U.S. government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are about to face off in a high-security London courthouse.

American authorities want to try Assange on espionage charges that carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. The extradition hearing that starts Monday comes a decade after WikiLeaks infuriated American officials by publishing a trove of classified military documents.

U.S. prosecutors say he conspired with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lawyers for Assange plan to argue that the case against him is politically motivated. A final decision on extradition is not expected for months or even years.

Associated Press

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