WikiLeaks founder and accused sex offender Julian Assange has been rewarded with a book deal, expected to be worth $1.7 million. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Assange told The Sunday Times of London that he had signed an $800,000 deal with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House, in the United States, and a $500,000 deal with Canongate books in Britain. With further rights and serialization, he told the newspaper, he expected his earnings to rise to $1.7 million.
Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Random House, said Monday that the book would be “a complete account of his life through the present day, including the founding of WikiLeaks and the work he has done there.” The deal, he said, had been initiated by one of Mr. Assange’s lawyers in mid-December, and was signed in a matter of days. He would not discuss the financial terms. Canongate has not yet made a public comment but has spoken of its own deal in messages on Twitter.
“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” Mr. Assange told the newspaper, explaining that his legal costs in fighting extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about allegations of sexual misconduct, have reached more than $300,000. “I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat,” he said.
Mr. Assange is under what he has called “high-tech house arrest” in an English mansion while he awaits hearings, beginning Jan. 11, over those allegations. Two women in Stockholm have accused him of rape, unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation over a four-day period last August. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the matter, and has called the case “a smear campaign” led by those who seek to stop him from leaking classified government and corporate documents.