How it went wrong between media lawyer Mark Stephens and his former client Julian Assange

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By Alex Aldridge on

A piece by Julian Assange’s ghostwriter in the London Review of Books contains some juicy insights into the deterioration of the Wikileaks founder’s relationship with star media solicitor Mark Stephens.

It’s well known that things didn’t run smoothly between Mark Stephens and Julian Assange when the pair worked together as lawyer and client in 2010-2011 battling Sweden’s attempt to extradite Assange on rape charges. But details of what went wrong remain hazy.

So followers of legal gossip may be interested to read an article by Andrew O’Hagan, the novelist charged with ghostwriting Assange’s autobiography, in which he reveals several examples of the anger Assange felt towards his solicitor.

Assange’s big beef with Stephens was over costs, which he struggled to pay.

To help Assange find the necessary cash, Stephens’ apparently suggested the autobiography deal. This seems to have caused resentment, with Assange subsequently pulling out of the arrangement and saying the book had been published against his wishes.

From that point things deteriorated.

Perhaps the most amusing part of O’Hagan’s piece — which runs to a massive 26,000 words — is the author’s description of Stephens as an “ebullient, red-faced mucker straight out of Dickens, saturated in media savvy.”

Stephens, of Howard KennedyFsi, has admitted that he “quite liked” the description.

Ghosting [London Review of Books]