LulzSec hacker Hammond faces 30 years

Hammond is accused of taking part in the Stratfor hack led by Hector Monsegur (Sabu). At the time, Sabu was acting as an FBI informant. The hack itself ultimately led to the publication of the ‘Global Intelligence Files’ by WikiLeaks, and included about 5 million emails and the private information of 860,000 Stratfor clients.

During the bail hearing, Hammond’s defense attorney, Elizabeth Fink, made it clear that she considered Hammond to be the victim of an FBI sting operation, but made no headway against the judge. According to Courthouse news, Judge Preska responded with comments such as entrapment being irrelevant to bail, “It's not going to help your case to tell me that,” and “What's the relevance of that to the bail factor?”

The possibility of a 37-year sentence, combined with Hammond's ‘lack of regard for legal authority,’ make him a flight risk, Preska said, according to Courthouse News. "The application for bail is denied," said the judge.

The outcome of this bail hearing has surprised and shocked many. Anonymous posted a message on Pastebin demanding that Preska recuse herself on the basis that she is married to one of the ‘victims’ of the Stratfor hack. “Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy's case, therefore violating multiple Sections of Title 28 of the United States Code,” it declared. “Judge Loretta Preska's impartiality is compromised by her Husband's involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements.”

According to CSO, ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick suspects the US government might be “just trying to ‘scare the (expletive) out of him’.” He believes that in the end the case will be settled by a plea bargain for much less than the possible maximum sentence. But he is also surprised by the threatened term, noting that the sentence for most federal crimes range from 10 to 20 years. “How they come up with 30 years to life is beyond me,” he said.

CSO also notes that Sophos senior security advisor Chester Wisniewski has some sympathy both with a possible conflict of interest involving Judge Preska, and also the 30 years threat. "If you physically broke into Stratfor and stole all of that information, you'd get 90 days maybe," he said. "But when it becomes a computer crime, suddenly it goes way up. I don't understand why electronic crimes are getting so much longer sentences than physical crimes."

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