WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange secretly fathered two children with one of his lawyers while he evaded espionage charges inside London’s Ecuadoran embassy, Assange’s alleged partner claims in a video posted Saturday by WikiLeaks and the Daily Mail.
The couple conceived 2-year-old Gabriel and 1-year-old Max as Assange was wanted in the United States for leaking classified intelligence materials and in Sweden for rape allegations, the Daily Mail reported. The British news group says attorney Stella Morris revealed the relationship because she wants 48-year-old Assange released from the London prison where he landed after the Ecuadoran Embassy kicked him out last April.
Morris, a Swedish national living in Britain, says she is worried about Assange’s health as the coronavirus pandemic spreads in prison populations, according to the Daily Mail.
“I feel like Julian’s life might be coming to an end,” a woman identifying herself as Morris says in the video.
The Daily Mail writes that “it is understood” that Morris and Assange were able to hide their relationship and children from the authorities who granted Assange shelter, even as the fugitive faced intense surveillance. The Ecuadoran Embassy did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s inquiries Saturday, nor did WikiLeaks or a lawyer for Assange.
Morris says in the video that she fell in love with Assange after meeting him in 2011 and joining his international legal team, which led her to spend “almost every single day” in the embassy.
“This is a person that I knew well by then,” Morris said. “A person I know better than most in this world.”
In the video released Saturday, she flips through photos of the children, a cat beside her, remarking at one point that the older boy resembles Assange: “Very Julian.”
The children, both British citizens, have visited their father in Belmarsh Prison in London, according to the Daily Mail, which says the dramatic revelations of a clandestine relationship surfaced last week in court documents reviewed by the news organization. The Daily Mail also claims that Assange watched his children’s births over video and was able to secretly meet Gabriel in the embassy.
Morris states on video that she suspected surveillance targeting her children when a guard told her someone was trying to steal one son’s DNA. The Daily Mail said Morris and Assange think American intelligence was behind the attempt. Assange has argued he is being unfairly prosecuted as a whistleblower.
“I realized that I couldn’t really protect my family,” Morris says. “I understood that the powers that were against Julian were ruthless and had … no bounds to it.”
Assange was immediately arrested on a hacking charge after Ecuador ended his asylum last year, accusing their yearslong guest of rule-breaking and “discourteous and aggressive behavior.”
U.S. prosecutors confirmed in 2018 that they had secretly charged him with conspiring with an Army intelligence analyst to illegally obtain secret military and diplomatic documents, which Assange’s group published online. He is accused of helping Chelsea Manning, the former soldier then known as Bradley Manning, try to crack a government password, perhaps unsuccessfully.
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The Washington Post’s William Booth, James McAuley, Ellen Nakashima and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.