Federal prosecutors are fighting a request to unseal an apparent criminal complaint against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
In papers filed Monday in Alexandria, prosecutors argue that the public has no right to know whether a person has been charged until there has been an arrest. Assange has been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London under a grant of asylum and has long expressed fear of a U.S. prosecution.
Free-press advocates asked a judge to unseal charges against Assange after prosecutors inadvertently mentioned those charges in an unrelated case.
Prosecutors acknowledge the mistake in Monday’s court filing but refuse to say whether the error is confirmation Assange has actually been charged.
The Associated Press and other news outlets have reported that Assange is indeed facing unspecified charges under seal.