Judge Andrew Napolitano called Julian Assange a “hero” after the WikiLeaks founder was arrested by British police Thursday moments after Ecuador withdrew his asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”
”I have to tell you, in my opinion Julian Assange is a hero. What he published was truthful information that the American public and the world had the right to see,” Napolitano, a Fox News legal analyst, said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday about an hour after Assange was arrested.
The 47-year-old Australian native has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy site, is facing a federal grand jury investigation over its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War.
Moments before he was arrested, Ecuador announced it had withdrawn Assange's asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.”
“There’s no basis to arrest him in London for the sexual assault investigation in Sweden,” said Napolitano. “He apparently has been charged with something in the United States. We don't know. Because of this inadvertent release of a warrant for him. That is probably the true reason for his arrest. He will probably be extradited here. We will see the indictment. And we will probably have a show trial.”
Napolitano said If Assange is brought to the United States, he is likely going to say he can’t answer questions about where he got the information because he’s protected by the first amendment. He thinks Assange would say: “'I'm not going to tell you how I got Hillary Clinton's emails but I got them and we published them.'”
Napolitano said he agrees that exposing state department secrets would “diminish the private communications.”
He added: “But just as if we, working for Fox News, received secret information, ‘my god the public has to know this.’ The person who gave it to us commits the crime. The publisher does not commit the crime."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.