The ongoing rape-and-sexual-molestation investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taking another in a series of odd turns. A file containing 100 pages of interview transcripts, investigatory notes and other material in the case has appeared online, where it’s being eagerly dissected by Swedish WikiLeaks-watchers.
The documents appear to consist of pretrial discovery material that prosecutors provided to Assange’s Stockholm lawyer Björn Hurtig last year, which Hurtig subsequently faxed to the office of Assange’s British attorney Mark Stephens. The documents begin with a Nov. 23 cover letter addressed to Stephens’ co-counsel, in which Hurtig advises: “Please note that the documents are legally privileged information for Mr Julian Assange and nobody else.”
Somehow, though, after arriving in London, the documents got out. They were anonymously posted to the Adobe Acrobat file sharing and collaboration site in recent days, and the link is being circulated on Swedish message boards and blogs. Stephens did not immediately return a phone call from Wired.com on Wednesday.
The file relates how Assange’s separate sexual encounters with two women in Sweden last year led to the criminal investigation, telling the story through police interviews with the two alleged victims, and with friends to whom they’d confided. There is nothing in the extensive details to support Assange’s past assertions that the Swedish criminal probe is part of “dirty tricks” campaign against WikiLeaks.
The most substantive content in the file was previously reported by Britain’s Guardian in December, apparently from a subset of the same police documents.
Assange began seeing the two women during a 10-day trip to Stockholm last August. The first woman, referred to in court as “Miss A.”, told police that her consensual encounter with Assange became violent when Assange pinned her to the bed as she attempted to reach for a condom. He then allegedly released her and agreed to wear the condom, but did something to it that caused it to rip, and continued to have sex.
The second woman, Miss W., also initially had consensual relations with Assange using a condom. But later, as they shared a bed, Assange allegedly began having sex with her while she was asleep — the basis of the rape allegation.
According to her police statement, she woke up and asked, “Are you wearing anything?”
“You,” Assange replied.
“You’d better not have HIV,” she said.
“Of course not.”
According to the police report, “she felt it was too late” to halt the unprotected sex. “He [Assange] was already inside her and she let him continue. She couldn’t be bothered to tell him again. She had nagged about condoms all night. She had never had unprotected sex before. He said he wanted to come inside her, he didn’t say when he did, but he did it.”
Following the incidents, Miss A. and Miss W. met up and went to police, after failing to persuade Assange to take an HIV test.
While most of the details of the allegations have been well known since December, the lurid color in the raw file has captivated Swedish readers. In addition to the serious charges, the police reports capture criticism by the women of Assange’s personal hygiene and sexual performance. Miss A., who housed Assange during his visit to Sweden, told a friend that Assange was prone to not flushing the toilet after use, and didn’t shower.
Once during sex with Assange, Miss W. says she turned towards him and smiled. “He asked her why she’s smiling, what is there to smile about,” reads the report. “She didn’t like the undertone in his voice.”
There are also some unreported details about the genesis of the criminal case.
• Miss A. saved the broken condom from her encounter for a week while Assange stayed in her flat in Stockholm, and then turned it over to police once the criminal investigation began. A Xeroxed photo of the condom is in the file. Police forensics examiners were unable to obtain a DNA sample from the condom.
• Miss W. voluntarily underwent a full rape-kit test at a hospital, and was given anti-HIV medication. No results from the rape kit are included in the leaked documents.
• Miss W. was being interviewed by police when she learned that Swedish prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for Assange for sexual molestation based on Miss A’s statements. At that point, Miss W. appeared to become upset and was unable to concentrate on the questioning, the police investigator writes, and the interview was terminated.
• Miss W. also provided police with a condom from one of her wakeful encounters with Assange. The police were able to retrieve male DNA from that condom, but do not have a sample of Assange’s DNA with which to compare it.
• The investigator who interviewed Miss W. took handwritten notes, which she then keyed into the national police-evidence system. But when she tried to access the file later to make revisions, she found herself locked out. A supervisor instructed her to refile the report from scratch, with the unspecified revisions.
Assange has not been charged, and he has denied any wrongdoing. He is currently on house arrest near London while he fights extradition to Sweden.
His lawyer, Stephens, has argued that Swedish prosecutors are abusing the Swedish and British legal process by attempting to extradite Assange without charging him with a crime, and for alleged offenses that are not subject to extradition. A two-day hearing is set for Feb. 7 and 8 in London.