Judge to Assange Backers: Pony Up $150K

Meanwhile, Assange looking into suing Australian PM
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2012 8:30 AM CDT
Michael Moore addresses several hundred Occupy Oakland protesters outside City Hall in Oakland, Calif., Oct. 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

(Newser) – Sorry, Michael Moore. Today a judge ordered the filmmaker, and the rest of the cadre of supporters who posted bail for Julian Assange, to pay $150,000 now that the WikiLeaks founder has skipped bail and taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, the AP reports. The supporters have argued that they should not be penalized. Assange's backers have already lost a significant chunk of change on their investment.

Assange, meanwhile, hasn't been exactly idle inside the embassy; he's hired a lawyer to explore a possible defamation suit against Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, he revealed in an interview with activist group GetUp! In 2010, Gillard condemned WikiLeaks' US cable dump, calling it "grossly irresponsible" and "illegal," Russia Today explains. Assange says those statements "directly affect the financial viability of WikiLeaks," because MasterCard used them to justify its ban on the group. But one prominent defamation lawyer says the suit is a publicity stunt, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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