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Julian Assange. Just saying the name conjures up emotions in most people who pay attention to the world around them. Good or bad, he and his WikiLeaks Empire are a force to be reckoned with — especially when he extorts the government by proposing a doomsday scenario that, if arrested on espionage charges, he’ll publish more, and presumably worse.

Since the end of November, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, representing the largest unauthorized release of contemporary classified information in world history. Many of the U.S. government documents were classified, either at the confidential or the secret level, meaning that their release is considered to pose a serious threat to national security.

How should Assange be treated under the law for what he spearheaded? What sort of a call would a judge make, in his role as judicial umpire, if a prosecution against Assange were pitched to him? As has been evidenced by the often-hyperbolic discussions of how to deal with Assange legally, prosecuting him under the Espionage Act (rather than, say, assassinating him, as some have suggested) may be the likeliest path — though a thorny path it would be. No easy balls or strikes here.

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