Julian Assange after rape charges dropped: Prepare for 'war'

Julian Assange warned Friday that even though Sweden planned to drop its investigation into a rape claim against him after almost seven years, his legal ordeal was "not something that I can forgive."

Assange, 45, took refuge in Ecuador's Embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime accusations from two women. He has been there ever since, claiming officials could ultimately extradite him to the United States.

Friday's announcement meant Assange no longer was under any investigation in Sweden. However, British police said Assange was still wanted in the U.K. for jumping bail in 2012 -- so he could still face arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy.

Speaking from the building's balcony, Assange said, "The proper war is just commencing" over his legal troubles. He also said his lawyers would contact U.K. officials to seek a way forward in resolving his status.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court," a lawyer for the woman who claimed Assange raped her responded. Elisabeth Massi Fritz said her client was shocked but "she can't change her view that Assange has exposed her to a rape."


Moments after the announcement, Assange's Twitter account posted a photo of him smiling.

Per E. Samuelson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, told The Associated Press it was a "day of victory." He added that Assange was "very unhappy" about the long investigation, which he said cost his client "five, six years of his life."

Assange also says he would be "happy" to discuss the case with the U.S. government even though Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that arresting Assange was a priority. President Donald Trump has said it is "OK" with him if Sessions does that.


Sweden's top prosecutor said "costs were not a reason for putting down the investigation." Marianne Ny told a news conference: "When we investigate serious crimes, we do not consider the costs."

Fox News' Mike Arroyo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.