- Associated Press - Monday, October 21, 2019

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear in court as he fights extradition to the United States on charges of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.

The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing. Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited.

U.S. authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.

The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings.

The public gallery was jammed with Assange supporters, and outside the courthouse, others carried placards calling for Assange to be released.

Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London while the extradition case is being prepared. He is facing a number of serious charges including espionage.

The first extended hearing is set for early next year but may be delayed.

Assange claims he is a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.

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