WASHINGTON — The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks is claiming that an elaborate and somewhat wacky smear campaign has targeted the group’s founder, Julian Assange, to paint him as a pedophile and Russian client.

WikiLeaks said the smear efforts, which it’s outlined in tweets and a series of documents over the past two days, include a sham offer from the Russian government to pay Assange $1 million to promote a women’s dating site and a separate scheme to link Assange to a criminal case in the Bahamas.

The assertions are the latest twist in events that have kept Assange and WikiLeaks at center stage of the presidential campaign.

Assange, an Australian who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London for over four years, had been accelerating the release of the hacked material this month in a drive to embarrass Clinton. Ecuador cut his internet connection Saturday, saying it did not want him interfering in U.S. affairs.

The alleged smear campaign centers on a Houston company, toddandclare.com, that describes itself as an online dating site for single women.

A representative for the company, Hannah Hammond, wrote to Assange’s legal team in London and Sweden with an offer to pay him to appear in a tongue-in-cheek five-minute television advertisement for the company that it said would air on the Lifetime channel.

“The source of the $1 million is the Russian government. It will be wired to Mr. Assange’s nominated account, upon his cooperation, and before filming of the ToddandClare.com ad by the SoHo camera crew,” Hammond wrote in a Sept. 16 email, according to a copy WikiLeaks published.

A second alleged plot also involves toddandclare.com, and suggested that Assange used the dating website to sexually molest an 8-year-old Canadian girl vacationing with her family in Nassau.


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