Anonymous Hacktivist Barrett Brown Can Use Money His Supporters Raised for His Defense

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Barrett Brown's had a rough few months, each one a little worse than the last.

In September, he was raided, arrested and ultimately charged with threatening an FBI agent on YouTube and Twitter. In December the feds threw some more charges at him, this time for sharing a link related to the hack of security firm Stratfor. In January, they added a few more, for concealing evidence. Then they charged his mom with obstructing the execution of a search warrant, an offense for which she faces up to 12 months in prison and a fine of $100,000.

See also:
- Is Anonymous Hacktivist Barrett Brown a Journalist? His Supporters Say So
- Is Barrett Brown the Threatening One, or Is It the Guys Who Locked Him Up?


Then the court took notice of his defense team, the folks over at Free Barrett Brown. Specifically, the court noticed in mid-April that FBB had managed to raise some $20,000 toward Brown's defense. Brown had been represented up until that point by a court-appointed attorney, Doug Morris. Judge Sam Lindsay ordered that all the cash immediately be placed into an account controlled by the court, to determine whether the money should be used toward repaying Morris. None of the money could be touched without the go-ahead from the judge.

In the meantime, Brown took on a newer, flashier defense team, as The Dallas Morning News reported at the time, made up of retired Navy Lieutenant and Guantanamo detainee attorney Charles Swift and cyber-security attorney Ahmed Ghappour, who also teaches at the the National Security Clinic at the UT Law School in Austin.

In a small victory for Brown, Judge Lindsay ruled yesterday that Brown can use the money FBB has raised to pay them, and that he's not required to keep his appointed public defender.

The judge argued that letting Brown cut the public defender loose and use his preferred legal team would actually end up saving the taxpayers money, writing in his ruling, "It would be a substantial drain on the resources of the Federal Public Defender to continue to represent Mr. Brown in light of the fact his retained counsel are doing much of the work pro bono."

So Brown can use the defense team he's chosen, and pay them whatever they're actually charging him with his defense fund money. Although his lawyers are apparently doing some of the work for free, Free Barrett Brown tweeted last night, "All contributions are appreciated -- we have a LONG way to go in order to cover legal expenses!"

With all that taken care of, all Brown's got to worry about is a potential 100 or so years in prison. Piece of cake.



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5 comments
BHO13
BHO13

Yo ah'll be long gone 'bfoe some smart broddar ever figures out what happened inside dis here Oval Office.

deadringer
deadringer

We actually need thousands of more Barrett Browns,  who are willing to expose the corporate intelligence surveillance connection of the government (which is merely a franchise for the elite).  Trillions of packets of digital communications are being usurped illegally by the government and its corporate henchmen and the extent of the National Security States activity needs full exposure.  

Journalists need to do their jobs,  and stop being the stenographers of moneyed elite power.  The idea of the "rule of law" (which is really the law of rule) has become a sick joke,  and those in power need to be introduced to a higher law - the people.  The game is over and the resistance has just begun,  and the question you need to ask is "which side am I on?"  If you want more of the same nonsense then by all means do nothing until someone writes up a felony that covers you and assaults your family (because that is what these clandestine "intelligence" cowards do,  just like petty dictatorships).  

Since I am on a Dallas blog what are you going to do about your CISPA loving jackasses in office?  Its not enough apparently that we have the federal entity acting like this,  now a state has followed suit - of course,  there is precious little difference between the two - they both serve the moneyed elite.  It is not that no other states are not thinking or planning the same it is just that Texas seems to have a special speedy penchant for oppression. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox-shlDXKO4

Whippoorwill
Whippoorwill

And once he beats the 100 or so years in prison all he'll need is a new face and a new identity. Because he'll be the walking, talking Howdy Doody face of every person who hacked someone's computer or business or stole an identity or money from them or in any way delivered someone a nasty computer experience. So unfair for poor Barrett and his mom, so unfair.

Daniel
Daniel

I think the government is vastly overreaching here, but the more I learn about this guy, the less I feel sorry for him. Arrogance is not a virtue.

arstubblefield
arstubblefield

@Daniel On balance, I think I'm at roughly the same point you are.  On the one hand, this does seem a bit like sandblasting a soup cracker.  This guy isn't Blofeld.  He's that hanger-on who gets picked up because the real masterminds let him run his mouth.  And, of course, there's his mom's arrest, as well, which seems like a pretty exploitative tactic.  At the same time, good God this guy just can't seem to do himself any favors!  Aside from the distasteful underlying allegations, his attitude and inability to recognize discretion as the better part of valor once in a while seem to kill any sympathy the circumstances might otherwise gin up for him.

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