LONDON – Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tried a new tactic Friday in their bid to prevent his extradition, charging that remarks by the Swedish prime minister have poisoned Assange’s chances of a fair hearing on sex crime allegations in Sweden.

Assange attorney Geoffrey Robertson said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has created a “toxic” atmosphere that would make a fair trial impossible.

“The Swedish prime minister says Assange is an enemy of the people,” Robertson said. “He’s made falsehoods in Parliament and the Swedish people will believe him. In Sweden (Assange) is public enemy No. 1 as a result of the prime minister’s statement.”

It wasn’t immediately clear which comments Robertson was referring to. Reinfeldt spoke about the Assange case Tuesday in Stockholm’s Parliament building, rejecting criticism of the Swedish justice system by Assange’s lawyers. He did not call Assange a public enemy.

Legal arguments in the extradition hearing wrapped up Friday, with the judge expected to issue a decision Feb. 24.

Assange, famous for publishing a massive cache of confidential U.S. military and diplomatic documents, is wanted for questioning in Sweden on sex crimes allegations stemming from a brief visit there last summer. Two women have accused him of sexual abuse. He has denied the allegations and described the sex as consensual.

The allegations include the charge that Assange tried to have sex with one woman while she was asleep, which can constitute rape in Sweden, and that he became violent during other sexual acts.