WikiLeaks Founder Free to Stay at Country Estate Under UK Appellate Decision

A High Court judge in London has denied an appeal by prosecutors seeking to keep WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in jail pending extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

Conditions of bail, set at about $316,000, require Assange to stay confined in a country house in Suffolk and to wear an electronic monitor, the Guardian reports.

News of today's decision to grant bail produced cheers outside the court, the Associated Press reports. Inside, the courtroom was packed with supporters and journalists. A judge at an earlier court hearing had allowed reporters to send Twitter messages during the proceedings, but this time the messages were banned, the New York Times reports.

Several well-known people have contributed money to Assange's bail, including filmmaker Michael Moore and human rights activist Bianca Jagger.

The New York Times reports in a separate story that Justice Department officials are hoping to build a conspiracy case against Assange for posting classified government documents. They are investigating whether Assange encouraged an Army intelligence analyst to download secret government files.

If Assange is charged as a conspirator to the analyst's alleged crimes, the Times says, "the government would not have to confront awkward questions about why it is not also prosecuting traditional news organizations or investigative journalists who also disclose information the government says should be kept secret."

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