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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Quiet Guilty Plea From Anonymous-Linked Man

DALLAS (CN) - A journalist connected with hacktivist group Anonymous who allegedly threatened an FBI agent has agreed plead guilty to some of the federal charges against him.

Since U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay granted an agreed motion to seal the plea agreement on April 4, and a gag order has been in place since September, the specific charges to which Brown has agreed to plead guilty remain unknown.

Brown has been in federal custody since 2012.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Barrett Brown will admit to allegations in two of three cases against him.

In one case, he was charged with making an Internet threat, conspiring to make restricted personal information of a federal employee publicly available, and retaliating against a federal law enforcement officer.

Brown was accused of posting several videos and messages on YouTube and Twitter between March and September 2012, "threatening to shoot and injure agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and specifically focusing on Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Robert Smith."

Brown was upset that federal agents confiscated his computer equipment and questioned his mother, according to the indictment.

In another case, Brown was charged for posting a hyperlink to credit card information that had been culled from the 2011 hacking by Anonymous into Austin-based Stratfor.

Prosecutors claimed he posted the link that provided access to data stolen from the company, including more than 5,000 credit card account numbers and associated information.

Federal prosecutors had dropped 11 of 12 charges in one case against Brown last month, mere hours after Brown's defense attorneys moved for the dismissal of the 11 counts, arguing Brown was being punished for conduct protected by the First Amendment.

Republishing of the hyperlink "cannot be punished absent a showing of a heightened state interest," the 48-page motion stated, which says Brown was "engaged in pure political speech."

In a third case, Brown was charged with obstruction of justice by concealing evidence during a raid on his mother's home. His mother, Karen McCutchin, pleaded guilty to obstructing the execution of a search warrant for hiding of Brown's computers during the raid. She was sentenced to six months probation in November 2013.

Follow @davejourno
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