Justice Department spokesman Mark Raimondi confirmed that the United States has appealed Baraitser’s ruling, meeting a Friday deadline. The filing is not public.
Advocates for Assange had hoped that President Biden’s administration would opt to drop the case, which the Obama administration had declined to charge over concerns that doing so would put press freedoms at risk. Assange is accused of helping former Army private Chelsea Manning obtain and leak classified information on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The decision to prosecute him was a political act by the Trump administration as part of its war on journalism,” Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, said in a statement. She urged the Biden administration to “drop this politically motivated prosecution” and “send a signal to the world that the US will no longer prosecute publishers and the press, at home or abroad.”
The Freedom of the Press Foundation and other civil liberties organizations also wrote asking the Biden administration to abandon the prosecution.
But the new White House is continuing to pursue Assange’s extradition. Under Trump, officials argued Assange was not a journalist but a freelance intelligence operative who sought to undermine the United States for political reasons.
Ellen Nakashima and William Booth contributed to this report.