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LulzSec hacker faces 30 years to life

Taylor Armerding | Nov. 28, 2012
Jeremy Hammond is denied bail, placed on terrorist watch list

"Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for," Anonymous wrote in a message posted last Friday. "Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy's case, therefore violating multiple Sections of Title 28 of the United States Code."

Beyond that, a writer identified only as "NA" on the website, argued thatÃ'Â "Hacktivists are not criminals! Jeremy is alleged of a crime that has exposed the corruption and exploitation of the very State prosecuting him," and suggested entrapment by the FBI as well.

"A time line published only days after Jeremy's arrest suggests that Operation AntiSec [the Stratfor hack] was orchestrated by the FBI through the agency of FBI informant Hector Monsegur," NA wrote.

Hammond himself, in a posting last July on YourAnonNews, claimed that "even the warden of MCC New York has in surprising honesty admitted that, 'the only difference between us officers here and you prisoners is we just haven't been caught.' The(y) call us robbers and fraudsters when the big banks get billion dollar bailouts and kick us out of our homes ... And they call us cyber criminals when they themselves develop viruses to spy on and wage war against infrastructure and populations in other countries."

Chester Wisniewski, senior security adviser at Sophos, said while he is no legal expert, he thinks the Hammond supporters have a valid point about a possible conflict of interest for Judge Preska, although he thinks the claim that hacktivists are, by definition, not criminals is absurd. But he also said the potential sentence looks to be out of proportion to the crime.

"If you physically broke into Stratfor and stole all of that information, you'd get 90 days maybe," he said. "But when it becomes a computer crime, suddenly it goes way up. I don't understand why electronic crimes are getting so much longer sentences than physical crimes."

Kevin Mitnick, noting that the crimes with which he was charged during his hacking career could have brought 400 years in prison, said he expects Hammond's case will be settled by a plea agreement for much less than the possible maximum.

"But what concerns me is even if they drop some counts, the sentence for most federal crimes can range from 10 to 20 years," he said. "How they come up with 30 years to life is beyond me."

Mitnick said it is possible that the government is trying to scare Hammond to get him to cooperate. Or, it could be designed to send a message to Anonymous members that what they view as sticking it to the man could yield some very serious consequences.


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