Barrett Brown Found Competent To Stand Trial; Pleads Not Guilty On Newest Charges of Concealing Evidence

Categories: Crime, Technology

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In a brief hearing this morning, United States District Judge Sam Lindsay found former self-proclaimed Anonymous spokesperson Barrett Brown mentally competent to stand trial. The judge will issue an order to that effect later today or early tomorrow. At the same time, Brown was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to his newest charge, concealing evidence, for which he was indicted last week.

Those charges were added onto two other indictments, for allegedly threatening an FBI agent in a YouTube video and for disseminating information from the Christmas Day hack of intelligence firm Stratfor. All told, Brown faces potential prison time of around 100 years.

The courtroom was mostly empty this morning, save for a few reporters and Brown's parents, a slim woman with a blond bob and her husband, a short guy with a dark-blue sweater and a sandy mop of brown hair. They declined to give their names or speak with reporters after the hearing. Brown shuffled into the courtroom accompanied by two U.S. marshals, his hair cut short, looking prison-sallow and unhappy under the fluorescent lights. His mother smiled at him.

"Sir, are you Barrett Lancaster Brown?" Judge Lindsay inquired.

"No, Your Honor." Brown replied.

There was a brief, loaded pause.

"You're not?" Lindsay asked. "What is your name?"

"My name is Barrett Lancaster Brown, Your Honor," Brown replied.

Lindsay paused again. "That's what I said," he answered, finally.

Other than that brief spot of weirdness, things proceeded uneventfully. In response to questions, Brown told the judge that he understood he was there in order for the court to determine his mental competency, after a prison psychologist at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Worth recently issued a report recommending he be found competent.

Brown's public defender, Doug Morris, told Judge Lindsay that when Brown was first indicted, back in September, "I had some concerns initially" about Brown's mental state. He asked a magistrate judge to remand Brown to the facility in Fort Worth, where he could receive medical treatment.

Brown told the judge that in Fort Worth he was "under the sporadic care of a psychologist," after spending a week and a half under medical supervision while undergoing withdrawal from Suboxone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction. "I was addicted to Suboxone," he told the judge. He said that he now takes Zoloft, an anti-depressant, and risperidone, an anti-psychotic (although Brown characterized it as an anti-depressant and sleep aid, which it's sometimes also prescribed for).

"He appears to be in much better shape than when he was brought in," Morris told the judge, adding that Brown has "a pretty good grasp" on the charges against him, his plea options, and the consequences of pleading guilty.

In short order, Lindsay ruled that Brown "does not suffer from a mental disease or defect" that would make him unable to stand trial or participate in his own defense. The judge then read the newest charges of concealing evidence to Brown. There are two of them: obstruction by concealing evidence and corruptly concealing evidence.

"Would you like to have the indictment read aloud in open court?" Linday asked.

"Oh, that's all right, Your Honor," Brown replied, before pleading not guilty.

The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, C.S. Heath, then asked that the first set of charges -- on the threat to the FBI agent -- be tried separately from the other two indictments, which she asked be tried together.

"There's an individual referenced [in the newest indictment] who may ultimately be named as a defendant," she explained. "That individual does not need to be in the same trial." (An anonymous source told our own Jim Schutze that person, referred to as "KM" in the indictment, may be Brown's mother.)

Lindsay set a trial date of April 8 for the first charges and May 6 for the second two. However, Brown's lawyer may file for a continuance; he told the judge during the hearing that the evidence "takes up multiple terabytes" and may need time to review.

With that, the hearing was over, and the marshals escorted Brown away. Out in the hallway, an AP reporter asked Brown's attorney if anyone from Anonymous had been in touch with his client.

"I have no idea about any of that," Morris replied, adding that he doesn't really track whom his client writes to. "But my suggestion is for him not to talk."


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10 comments
NobodySpecificReally
NobodySpecificReally

No penalty!  No matter how they couch it, he is an internet hero, who has aided other internet heroes. They can cry foul no more than if were simply a giving homemade coffee to the poor.  He was raised an intelligent child, it seems, who matured to learn the law and country are corrupt. This guy is nothing more than a heroic vigilante fighting for the good of the people.

epicmale
epicmale

Maximum penalty!  No matter how he couches it, he is an internet thug, who has aided and abetted other internet thugs.  He can cry foul no more than the bank robber who claims he is robbing banks to give to the poor.  He was raised as a  privileged child, who matured to believe he was both above the law and immune to the law.  This guy is nothing more than a well polished hacker enabler.

johntiessen
johntiessen

Probably the most in depth article on this case so far, all I know of  Mr. Brown is him doing good, fighting racism, police brutality, stopping people from embezzling money from old people, helping people get their accounts back after they have been hacked, trying to pull people together so they don't fight with each other in other words a peacekeeper and many many other noble things. How a men like this can be charge with anything is beyond me. I think I'm waiting for someone on a white horse to come in and save him from these unjust charges, or some politician or some other notable person to see through it and rescue him. That might be wishful thinking on my part, I think I'm putting my hopes into a just American system that simply isn't there. 

Textex
Textex

Another fraud everyone should be aware of is the Amway Tool Scam. Google "Stop The Amway Tool Scam Wordpress" for more information, and forward this information to every non-Distributor/IBO you know, so they don't get ripped off. 

SplendidSpoon
SplendidSpoon

Correction: April 83 does not exist. Otherwise thank you for the detailed report on this mornings hearing. I am glad he is holding up alright, given the ridiculous charges and absurd sentencing he's facing. Please continue to cover this case and examine the outrageous prosecution of an American journalist and patriot. He is not a hacker, and does not deserve jail time. 

roccus3
roccus3

@johntiessen Appreciate your views John.  I greatly enjoyed reading this Respectable and heartening post.  I feel similarly about Assange....

The one thing about your response that stands out, and I feel deserves further attention, is the White Horse concept?...  It is beautiful, and would be very nice...but as you allude to,,is unrealistic.  We MUST consider this, here, and in future, similar circumstances, which are sure to present themselves....

The White Horse,,,Is You...and I,..,and Millions people More,  who think and Know how to Feel,..alike.

Thus, in this, and similar Circumstances...Whenever possible...Go, and participate in Demonstrations, and Rallys..   When you Have a day off work,,,or even when we can Spare a Vacation day...Get involved! Make your Presence, and spirit Known!...Heard..Felt.

This is the world John..It was given to us, for this time anyway...Let it live the way you believe,,and You be on the White Horse,,for some time..  or we wont.

I have begun this not long ago..and You will not believe the Power, and Value, of the feeling of Togetherness,, and Commonality, and Hope that comes from expressing, with brethren what you know to be good and right.  

Good luck and God bless.  Thank you for the post.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@SplendidSpoon Agreed. I don't see how this guy could be facing this much jail time. Amazing.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@SplendidSpoon Sorry, that was April 8, 2013. I think my editors are plotting to destroy me. Or I fucked up. I'll fix it right now. Thanks!

Textex
Textex

@Anna_Merlan @TextexWould you like to do a story about the Amway Tool Scam? Or sould you rather ignore it and allow millions of people continue to be ripped off for 10s-100s of billions of dollars for the next few decades, as they were for the previous few decades? 


Why NOT use the power of the press to shine some light on this issue? Isn't that the JOB of the press?  

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