USA prosecutors have revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, whose website WikiLeaks first gained notoriety when it published a trove of classified U.S. government documents in 2010.
The text was discovered in an August 22 filing by assistant USA attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, as part of an ongoing case in the Eastern District of Virginia.
"That was not the intended name for this filing", he told The Washington Post.
Prosecutors inadvertently disclosed the existence of a sealed indictment in a court filing in an unrelated case, WikiLeaks said Thursday.
But British police have said they still intend to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy because he broke his conditions for bail by taking refuge there.
The 47-year-old fears that, once British authorities detain him, he will immediately be extradited to the U.S. where he is likely to face serious charges over his role at WikiLeaks.
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Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, has already indicated that Mr Assange was believed to be a tool of Russian intelligence. It was submitted to the federal court in the eastern district of Virginia, which handles many cases involving national security. Seitu Sulayman Kokayi was charged enticing a teenage girl to have sex with him.
On Thursday evening, Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter - which first brought it to the attention of reporters.
The filing carried markings indicating it was originally filed in a US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.
Since June 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy, afraid that if he steps outside he will be arrested.
"The prosecutor on the order is not from Mr. Mueller's team and WikiLeaks has never been contacted by anyone from his office", WikiLeaks said.
Even if he is charged, Assange's coming to the United States to face trial is no sure thing. He initially entered the embassy to avoid extradition for a rape charge in Sweden.
WikiLeaks has attracted USA attention since 2010, when it published thousands of military and State Department documents from Army Pvt.