Julian Assange tried to contact Hillary Clinton and the White House when he realised that unredacted US diplomatic cables given to WikiLeaks were about to be dumped on the internet, his lawyer told his London extradition hearing on Tuesday.
Assange is being sought by the United States on 18 counts of hacking US government computers and an espionage offence, having allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning, then a US soldier known as Bradley Manning, to leak hundreds of thousands of secret documents by WikiLeaks almost a decade ago.
On Monday, the lawyer representing the United States told the hearing that Assange, 48, was wanted for crimes that had endangered people in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan who had helped the West, some of whom later disappeared.
Outlining part of his defence, Assange's lawyer Mark Summers said allegations that he had helped Manning to break a government password, had encouraged the theft of secret data and knowingly put lives in danger were "lies, lies and more lies".
He told London's Woolwich Crown Court that WikiLeaks had received documents from Manning in April 2010. He then made a deal with a number of newspapers, including the New York Times, Britain's Guardian and Germany's Der Spiegel, to begin releasing redacted parts of the 250,000 cables in November that year.
Summers also said Assange attempted to warn the US government, calling the White House and attempting to speak to then- Secretary of State Clinton, saying "unless we do something, people's lives are put at risk".