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Julian Assange after he was arrested in London. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after Ecuador withdrew its offer of asylum, according to the Metropolitan Police, who later confirmed that his arrest was under a U.S. extradition warrant.

Details: The Justice Department charged Assange with "a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer," per its press release announcing the indictment. The charge, which carries a maximum sentence of five years, alleges that Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning in 2010 to crack a password on Defense Department computers.

  • After being taken from the Ecuadorian Embassy, Assange was found guilty by a U.K. court of breaching his bail conditions in 2012. A British judge called Assange, who faces a maximum of 12 months in prison, a "narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest."
  • He has been ordered to appear back in court on May 2.

Assange's attorney Barry J. Pollack released the following statement:

"It is bitterly disappointing that a country would allow someone to whom it has extended citizenship and asylum to be arrested in its embassy. First and foremost, we hope that the U.K. will now give Mr. Assange access to proper health care, which he has been denied for seven years. Once his health care needs have been addressed, the U.K. courts will need to resolve what appears to be an unprecedented effort by the United States to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Joe Uchill: What's interesting is that the charges focus on Assange technically assisting Manning's hacking, making the charges more about Assange the hacker than Assange the journalist. It quashes some of the concerns about this being a crackdown on the free press.

The big picture: Assange had been in the embassy since 2012 after being released on bail in the U.K. over sexual assault allegations in Sweden. He claimed that he could be extradited to the U.S. to face prosecution for his work with WikiLeaks if he returned to Sweden to face those charges. Last year, a mistakenly redacted Justice Department filing showed that federal prosecutors had prepped an indictment against him.

Read the DOJ's indictment:

Go deeper

German elections: After close result, jockeying to replace Merkel begins

Data: Preliminary results from German Federal Returning Officer; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) pulled off a come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s elections, 10 seats ahead of the Christian Democrats (CDU), which failed to finish top for the first time in 16 years.

State of play: SPD leader Olaf Scholz has said he’ll seek to form a government, but so too has Armin Laschet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor as CDU leader.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden gets COVID-19 booster shot on live television

President Biden received a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine booster shot on live television on Monday, while also urging Americans to get vaccinated.

Driving the news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week recommended Pfizer booster shots for millions of people, including those 65 years and older and individuals at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, wins unconditional release

John Hinckley Jr. sitting on the back seat of a car in 1981. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate former President Reagan in 1981.

State of play: U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington ruled that Hinckley can be freed from all court supervision in 2022 if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow rules that were imposed on him after he was released from a Washington mental health facility in 2016 to live in Virginia, AP reports.