Barrett Brown was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $890,000 in fines and restitution. The journalist, and former member of hacktivist group Anonymous, was originally facing up to 100 years in prison for various crimes — including sharing a link to hacked information.
The investigation into Brown’s activities began in 2011. As reported by the Washington Post, the journalist was initially scrutinized for his ties to Anonymous. Later that same year, he was accused of participating in the cyberattack on defense contractor Strategic Forecasting.
Documents obtained during the cyberattack were eventually released to the public via WikiLeaks.
— Geek Slop (@geek_slop) January 23, 2015
Although Barrett Brown did not participate in the cyberattack, and did not post the information to WikiLeaks, he is accused of sharing a link to the controversial website.
In March 2012, The FBI descended on Brown’s apartment, and his mother’s home, with search warrants. Agents seized numerous items, including the journalist’s personal computers.
Six months later, Barrett Brown was arrested on several charges, including internet threats, conspiracy to make publicly available restricted personal information of an employee of the United States, and retaliation against a federal law enforcement officer.
On October 3, Brown was indicted on all three charges. By the end of December, authorities added 14 additional charges, including 12 counts of identity theft. If convicted on all charges, Barrett Brown was facing more than 100 years in prison.
In March 2014, assistant U.S. attorney Cadina Heath filed and was granted a motion to dismiss a vast majority of the charges. Per a plea agreement, Barrett Brown later plead guilty to the remaining six charges.
As reported by the Washington Post, the defendant was sentenced on Thursday. Although Brown was sentenced to eight years and six months, he will receive credit for time served.
Following the hearing, Brown released an official statement.
“The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex… For the next 35 months, I’ll be provided with free food, clothes, and housing as I seek to expose wrongdoing by Bureau of Prisons officials and staff and otherwise report on news and culture in the world’s greatest prison system.”
Although he will spend the next five years in a federal prison, Barrett Brown seems to have maintained his sense of humor and his ongoing interest in exposing corruption.
[Image via Sparrow Media]