Julian Assange Tries New Tactic: Not Talking

At his lawyer's behest, the WikiLeaks founder avoided big speeches and bombast

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Julian Assange wore glasses and a closely cropped haircut to his first day back at the high court in London on Tuesday. Also, he had a new plan: stay quiet.

It must have been tough, but Assange managed to behave himself, reports The Guardian:

The new approach demanded he fight his natural instinct to speak out, so he sealed his lips as he fought through a phalanx of photographers outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Once inside the vaulted and wood-lined courtroom four where he faced Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley, his new tactics became clear. In essence, his lawyers would admit, his sexual behaviour with two Swedish women he had met while on work in Stockholm last August might have been seen as "disrespectful, discourteous, disturbing" but it was not illegal.

His new lawyer Ben Emmerson is taking a "clinical" approach to fight extradition to Sweden, where Assange faces rape charges. The new strategy will diverge from Assange's failed appeal last year, described by The Guardian as "marked by grandstanding speeches and a combative legal approach that tore into the Swedish authorities." Rather, Emmerson is now arguing against the terms of the extradition itself, challenging the evidence in the warrant issued by Swedish judges for Assange's arrest. In contrast to Assange's silent treatment, the new argument required Emmerson to go into lengthy, graphic detail about the incidents, an exercise intended to leave little to the court's imagination.

Assange's uneventful court appearance comes just two days after celebrating his 40th birthday party in Ellingham Hall, where he's been on house arrest the past seven months. Despite gossip about celebrity attendees and private jets, that party was evidently uneventful as well.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.