Julian Assange has often claimed that the US has secretly filed charges against him—and an apparent error in a court filing for an unrelated case suggests he is right. The document, filed by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of an unrelated sex-crime case, asks for charges against somebody living overseas called Assange to be kept secret, the Guardian reports. It asks for a criminal complaint and arrest warrant "to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter." A US Attorney's office says the "court filing was made in error," and Assange "was not the intended name for this filing." Analysts suspect prosecutors copied and pasted parts of the documents from Assange's case and forgot to change the name.
Barry Pollack, an attorney for Assange, said it was disturbing that the Justice Department is pursuing "criminal charges against someone for publishing truthful information," the New York Times reports. "The news that criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr. Assange is even more troubling than the haphazard manner in which that information has been revealed." Before the filing was publicized by a terrorism expert who tracks court cases, sources told the Wall Street Journal that prosecutors were looking at different options for charging Assange and that they were confident they would be able to get him out of Ecuador's London embassy, where he has been holed up since 2012. (Assange's relationship with the Ecuadorians has been going downhill.)