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Julian Assange extradition hearing paused over fears lawyer exposed to coronavirus

Click to play video: 'WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears in court for extradition hearing, father criticizes case' WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears in court for extradition hearing, father criticizes case
WATCH: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears in court for extradition hearing, father criticizes case – Sep 7, 2020

The London hearing on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange‘s extradition from Britain to the United States was suspended Thursday because one of the lawyers may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ordered the proceedings adjourned until Monday while a lawyer representing the U.S. government is tested for the virus.

Read more: Judge tells Julian Assange to stop interrupting witnesses during hearing

Assange is fighting American prosecutors’ attempt to get the British government to send him to the U.S. to stand trial on spying charges.

U.S. prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 18 espionage and computer misuse charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret U.S. military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

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Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: WikiLeaks’s Assange hearing delayed due to pandemic' Coronavirus outbreak: WikiLeaks’s Assange hearing delayed due to pandemic
Coronavirus outbreak: WikiLeaks’s Assange hearing delayed due to pandemic – Apr 27, 2020

Assange’s lawyers say the prosecution is a politically motivated abuse of power that will stifle press freedom and put journalists around the world at risk.

The hearing started Monday at London’s Old Bailey criminal court and is scheduled to last about a month.

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