Barrett Brown Sentenced To 63 Months In Jail For Daring To Do Journalism On Hacked Info

We've written a few times about the ridiculous case against Barrett Brown, a journalist who took a deep interest in Anonymous and various hacking efforts. As we noted, a key part of the initial charges included the fact that Brown had organized an effort to comb through the documents that had been obtained from Stratfor via a hack. The key bit was that Brown had reposted a URL pointing to the documents to share via his "Project PM" -- a setup to crowdsource the analysis of the leaked documents. Some of those documents included credit card info, so he was charged with "trafficking" in that information. Brown didn't help his own cause early on with some immensely foolish actions, like threatening federal agents in a video posted to YouTube, but there were serious concerns about how the government had twisted what Brown had actually done in a way that could be used against all kinds of journalists.

While the feds eventually dismissed the key "linking" claim (equating linking to trafficking), they still got Brown to agree to a plea deal on other charges. After many months, he was finally sentenced today to 63 months in prison, more than double the 30 months that his lawyers asked for (30 months being the time he's already served in prison). He also has to pay $890,000 in restitution. For linking to some files he didn't have anything to do with leaking.

Before the sentencing, Brown made a statement to the judge that is well worth reading. He admits that the threatening videos were "idiotic" and apologizes for it, but delves more deeply into what's really at stake in his case. Here's just a tiny bit...


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