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Julian Assange gets helping hand from OJ Simpson's briefs

WikiLeaks man pulls on snug gloves

Julian Assange has a new member of his defence team – Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, who once served as an adviser on OJ Simpson's legal counsel.

The WikiLeaks' founder's head lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC asked Dershowitz, who has famously defended clients that include Claus von Bülow, Michael Milken and Mike Tyson, to work on the case in an advisory role.

The WikiLeaks organisation will be scutinised in a federal magistrates court in the US state of Virginia later today about the Justice Department's subpoena of all messages sent via Twitter between the whistle-blower site and its supporters.

Privately held Twitter is expected to resist responding to the order to disclose the information.

"This is an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter's customers – many of them American citizens," said Assange.

"More shocking, at this time, is that it amounts to an attack on the right to freedom of association, a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by the information released by WikiLeaks, have found so valuable."

WikiLeaks claimed that the likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo! "may have" been served with a similar subpoena in December last year.

"We are all asking all service providers to explain whether they too have been served with a similar order, and whether, they have caved into it," said Assange.

He said WikiLeaks would not participate directly in today's proceedings in the Virginia court. Assange, as an Australian citizen, claimed that the US lacked jurisdiction "over expressive activities beyond its borders".

The WikiLeaks man's lawyers were in a UK court last week fighting Assange's extradition to Sweden by arguing that prosecutors had failed to follow correct procedures.

Swedish authorities want to question Assange in relation to alleged sex offences. But his defence solicitors claim that prosecutors must charge him with an offence, and therefore disclose the evidence against him, in order to qualify for extradition. ®

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