Alan Dershowitz to Join WikiLeaks Founder Assange's Legal Team

Natasha Mozgovaya
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Natasha Mozgovaya

First Amendment lawyer Alan Dershowitz announced Tuesday night that he would be joining the legal team defending WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently fighting off an extradition order from the U.K. to Sweden, where he is sought for alleged sexual misconduct.

In a CNN interview, Dershowitz said the United States praised the use of new media in the quest for Middle East democracy, but was seeking to stop WikiLeaks.

Alan DershowitzCredit: Ofer Vaknin

The United States is encouraging, of course, the new media in Iran, in Egypt, and other parts of the world and at the same time it's obviously seeking to chill the use of those media by seeking the records of people who follow on Twitter or tweets or use WikiLeaks, and so we think double standards are being applied in the form of rights for me but not for thee, Dershowitz told CNNs Eliot Spitzer.

Now obviously, nobody is talking about publishing the names of spies, satellite codes, things that traditionally, both the newspapers and responsible people, withhold publication, Dershowitz said.

Dershowitz, who represented Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel, who put in the public record the excerpts known as "The Pentagon Papers," documents which revealed confidential information about the U.S. government's actions during the Vietnam War, said he saw similarities between the two cases.

We argue that the cutting-edge issue of this decade really is the application of the First and fourth Amendment to the social media, to electronic journalism, to the new media, he said.

We're worried not only about this particular application but the precedent it will set in the electronic context, where you can get thousands, millions, perhaps tens of millions of pieces of information about individuals, and so it's important to fight this battle, at the earliest possible stage," he added.

Dershowitz said he would not serve as Assange's official lawyer because he doesnt need a lawyer in the United States.