An ACLU attorney serving as a legal advisor to former NSA contractor and leaker Edward Snowden says that he would only take a plea deal with the U.S. government if the terms of the deal were solidified prior to his landing on U.S. soil.
"I can tell you now he is not going to return to the country and take his chances on what the details of a plea bargain might be or what might await him at a trial," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wizner said in an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."
Wizner, who has called himself a "legal adviser" to Snowden, would not say if people representing Snowden had been in talks with the Justice Department about turning himself in.
"There is an open door," Wizner said.
Snowden, who has taken asylum on Russian soil, is facing three felony counts in a federal complaint filed last June for leaking classified NSA documents that revealed the agency's spying activities on the Internet and on mobile phones both here in the U.S. and abroad.
On Thursday Attorney General Eric Holder said prosecutors would be open to plea talks with Snowden, though he hinted later that Snowden would first have to come back to the U.S.
Wizner says that he is putting his focus on getting clemency for Snowden from President Barack Obama.
"Certainly, clemency is the framework we’re talking about right now....I don’t think Edward Snowden should, as the Justice Department says, plead guilty to a felony, lose his freedom and lose his civil rights for his act of conscience that did all of this good," Wizner said.