Albert Gonzalez, the man convicted of the massive credit card hack of TJX, Dave Busters, Heartland Payment Systems and several other retailers, has moved to withdraw the guilty plea that landed him in prison and asked to have his conviction vacated.
Gonzalez is acting as his own lawyer in the habeas corpus petition filed on March 24th in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. He has objected that his lawyers did not file a “Public Authority” defense, in which he could have argued he engaged in the actions in the belief he had been granted the authority to do so by the Secret Service:
“I still believe that I was acting on behalf of the United States Secret Service and that I was authorized and directed to engage in the conduct I committed as part of my assignment to gather intelligence and seek out international cyber criminals,” he wrote [in the motion.] “I now know and understand that I have been used as a scapegoat to cover someone’s mistakes.”
‘One day I was unknown and nothing, and the next day I am being hailed as a genius and giving presentations to Secret Service Agents in Washington, D.C. All of this was mind-boggling for me.’
Rene Palomino, Gonzalez’s former lawyer, takes a dimmer view of his erstwhile client’s actions:
“He was given the opportunity of a lifetime to work for the Secret Service,” Palomino says. “He chose to become a criminal, bottom line, and become a double agent working both sides — the criminal side and the legal side.”
Citing the current appellate status of the case, a Secret Service official would not comment on Gonzalez’s claims.