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WikiLeaks Founder Signs $1.3 Million Book Deal

Photo Courtesy - LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has inked a $1.3 million book deal to cover legal costs relating to his arrest and any lawsuits aimed at his controversial whistle-blowing website.

The book is to be published in the U.S. by the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group at Random House, and British publisher Canongate.

In an interview with the UK's Sunday Times, Assange, 39, said he is writing the book in order to cover his mounting legal fees.

"I don't want to write this book, but I have to," he told the Sunday Times. "I have already spent £200,000 for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat."

Assange, an Australian national, is fighting extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden, where two women have accused him of sexual misconduct. He is free on bail in England after being arrested on Dec. 7 in London.

WikiLeaks came under financial trouble when Paypal, MasterCard and Visa recently cut off all processing of donations to the site. According to Assange, the site has lost approximately $650,000 since this funding was cut off. At its peak, the site was receiving approximately $130,000 in daily donations, he says.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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