Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the man behind the publication of more than a 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, could face spying charges in the U.S. related to the Espionage Act, Assange's lawyer said today.
"Our position of course is that we don't believe it applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of Wikileaks and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the U.S.," Assange's attorney Jennifer Robinson told ABC News.
Robinson said they're hearing from lawyers in the U.S. that an indictment of Assange could be imminent.
Assange is already in custody in London on sexual assault charges including rape originating out of Sweden. He is being held in solitary confinement with restricted access to a phone and his lawyers, Robinson said.
"This means he is under significant surveillance but also means he has more restrictive conditions than other prisoners," she said. "Considering the circumstances he was incredibly positive and upbeat."
Justice Department officials declined to comment on the possible coming charges, but earlier this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the release of the documents had put the United States at risk and said he authorized a criminal investigation into Assange.
"The lives of people who work for the American people has been put at risk; the American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that are, I believe, arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can," Holder said Tuesday. "We have a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature. I authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable, as they -- as they should be."
In response to widespread criticism of the sex crime charges, a lawyer for the two Swedish women accusing Assange said the charges are in no way politically motivated and the woman are angry at that suggestion.
"They were attacked by Mr. Assange and then they are treated like perpetrators themselves," attorney Claes Borgstrom told ABC News. "He has molested them and then sacrificed them for his own interests."
One woman accused Assange of sexually coercing her twice in August, including one time when he allegedly "forcibly parted her legs, preventing her from moving... then had intercourse without a condom," according to prosecutors. The second woman claimed that Assange had unprotected sex with her while she slept.
Borgstrom told ABC News one of the women went to the hospital following one of the alleged attacks.
The timing of the arrest earlier this week led a Wikileaks spokesperson, Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens and hundreds of Assange's supporters to claim they were part of a political effort to marginalize the Wikileaks founder in the face of the massive document drop.
But Borgstrom said his clients were hardly against Wikileaks. Rather, the two were employed by Wikileaks and were in fact "admirers" of Assange's work.
"They want that there will be a trial so Julian Assange must answer to what he has done and so the world sees it's true and it really happened," Borgstrom said.