Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of the agency's surveillance programs, is willing to return to the U.S. and face criminal charges, if he's assured of a fair trial, according to a Russian news report.
Snowden, now living in Russia, is ready to return to the U.S. on the condition that he's guaranteed a fair trial, Snowden lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told journalists Tuesday, according to a report from Russian news agency TASS.
Several Snowden lawyers are negotiating his return to the U.S., Kucherena said. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has promised in a letter to Snowden's lawyers that he would not face a death sentence, Kucherena added.
So far, the Department of Justice has guaranteed Snowden "will not be executed, not that he will receive a fair trial," the lawyer told reporters.
Snowden continues to work in IT in Moscow and consults with several U.S. companies as well, Kucherena told reporters.
Snowden faces espionage and theft of government property charges in the U.S. He's been living in Russia for more than a year and a half, after originally fleeing the U.S. to Hong Kong in mid-2013. Media outlets began publishing stories based on Snowden's leaks in June 2013.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is [email protected]