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Is underway in the case against Julian Assange, with more fake charges piled on.

The Justice Department has hit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with Espionage Act charges, escalating a legal fight against the high-profile activist and alarming press freedom activists.

DOJ had previously only indicted Assange on a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Thursday’s revelation of the additional 18 charges, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, means Assange could face significantly more prison time if found guilty.

“Any government use of the Espionage Act to criminalize the receipt and publication of classified information poses a dire threat to journalists seeking to publish such information in the public interest, irrespective of the Justice Department’s assertion that Assange is not a journalist,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, in a statement.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who also touched off a debate about the media’s role in publishing secret files when he leaked classified information to reporters in 2013, proclaimed: “the Department of Justice just declared war – not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself.”

Luckily, Assange can expect a fair trial on these trumped-up nonsense charges! Maybe just as fair as his seven-year confinement in the Embassy for nothing. Then again, knowing Amerikan jurors, they’re probably already asleep.

Whose next?!