The Swedish lawyer representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said his client faces one of the “weakest” cases he has ever seen in his career.
Stockholm-based Bjorn Hurtig, 45, said contradictory messages posted on Twitter and a blog suggest the two alleged victims may have a “hidden agenda”.
The lawyer added that it was “outrageous” for a prosecutor to publicly confirm the 39-year-old Australian was under investigation for rape.
In a statement submitted to London’s Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court ahead of the hearing on Tuesday, Mr Hurtig attacked Assange’s treatment at the hands of the Swedish authorities.
He said: “In my opinion, having studied the case file, as well as other material I was permitted to inspect but not to take copies or notes of (SMS/text messages from the complainants’ mobile telephones) the case is one of the weakest I have ever seen in my professional career.
“Even leaving to one side evidential problems, I can see from the SMS/text messages, in which the complainants speak of ‘revenge’, obtaining money and speaking about Mr Assange in the press, that they may have a hidden agenda, which casts serious doubt on their accusations and their trustworthiness.”
Assange faces three charges of sexually assaulting one woman and one charge of raping another during a week-long visit to Stockholm last August.
He arrived at the south east London courthouse on Tuesday for the second and final day of a hearing to decide whether he should be extradited to face prosecution.
Court officials said District Judge Howard Riddle, who transferred the case from Westminster because of the massive press interest, is likely to reserve his decision to another date.
Assange’s legal team fear a move to Sweden could lead to him being taken against his will to the United States, detained at Guantanamo Bay and ultimately executed for spying.