A British judge on Monday rejected a request by lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to delay his extradition hearing until next year to give his lawyers more time to respond to US allegations that he conspired with hackers to obtain classified information, per the AP. The adjournment request came on the first day of a London court hearing where Assange is fighting American prosecutors' attempt to send him to the US to stand trial on spying charges. US prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 18 espionage and computer misuse charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret US military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser declined Assange's request for a delay, saying she had offered the defense the chance in August to postpone the hearing, and “they declined to do so.” Assange, who has spent almost a year and a half in a British prison, sat in the dock at the Old Bailey criminal court and formally refused the US extradition demand. Assange, who lawyers say has suffered physical and mental ill-health because of his ordeal, spoke clearly to confirm his name and date of birth. He wore a dark suit, white shirt, and maroon tie, with glasses perched atop his neatly trimmed white hair. The case is due to run until early October. The judge is expected to take weeks or even months to consider her verdict, with the losing side likely to appeal. (Read more Julian Assange extradition stories.)