Nightly News   |  December 02, 2010

Attorney: Assange rape case ‘personal, not political’

An attorney for two woman charging WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with sexual assault asserts that politics and the current intrigue caused by the site's latest data dump have nothing to do with reinstating the allegations. NBC's Lisa Myers reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. there are now people looking for him all over the world. julian assange, the man behind wikileaks is wanted by the police agency interpol and reviled by many. last night, the internet rumor was that he was spotted in a bar here in new york with a newly shaved head. today, we were told otherwise. he's wanted for questioning not yet in connection with the leaks. he's wanted in sweden on allegations of sexual molestation and rape. tonight, we've spoken exclusively with the attorney for the two women in the case. our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers is here in new york with the story. good evening.

>> reporter: brian, the lawyer for the women is emphatic that these allegations have nothing to do with politics, wikileaks , or the u.s. government . he argues that it's in everyone's interest for assange to be arrested and returned to sweden for questioning. assange's lawyer confirmed that the founder of wikileaks is still in britain.

>> he's not in hiding, evading any interpol arrest warrant . he has genuine concerns for his personal safety as a result of numerous, very public calls for his assassinations.

>> reporter: today, sweden 's highest court confirmed the court order seeking his arrest for questioning. but british police say they need more information about the allegations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women , wikileaks volunteers. in stockholm, the swedish prosecutor told nbc 's peter alexander that this case is being handled just like any other. that there was no pressure.

>> there have been no conflicts whatsoever from the other countries or authorities.

>> reporter: in an interview with nbc news, the lawyer for the two women also rejected assange's claim that all this is dirty tricks .

>> that is nonsense. i can tell you that.

>> reporter: nonsense?

>> it's nonsense, yes.

>> reporter: he says the allegations stem from two separate incidents in august. days apart, involving young women who didn't know each other at the time.

>> these women are alleging that mr. assange forced them to do something against their will.

>> yes. that is so.

>> reporter: mr. assange insists whatever happened was consensual.

>> i'm not surprised that is his standpoint, of course. and that is why it has to be interrogated.

>> reporter: assange's lawyer says he's tried to cooperate with prosecutors.

>> obviously, he vehemently denies the allegations.

>> reporter: this case is a very personal one, about assange's treatment of two women .

>> they have been abused, they've gone to the police in the same way as unfortunately thousands of women do every year.

>> reporter: and nothing political about it?

>> no. i understand that this is in the interest of julian assange to say that this is a conspiracy and so on. but it is not.

>> reporter: he would not discuss details of the incident, saying he didn't want to jeopardize the investigation and predicts assange will ultimately be arrested and returned for questioning. nbc news has requested an interview with mr.