Prosecutors used the same legal strategy against Barrett Brown as they did me. Are you next?

FBI agents and the state’s lawyers misrepresented events to create a false narrative, and the judges in both our cases bought it.

If you still think the legal process is about justice, it’s time you woke up. I quote from Ladar Levison:

When it happened to me, I dismissed it as an anomaly. The government – while trying to access the private emails of my company’s 410,000 users – made material misrepresentations to the courts in a coordinated campaign to portray me as obstinate and uncooperative. Their intent? To manipulate a judge into accepting an unconstitutional legal theory. It cost me my business.

Barrett Brown, whose investigative journalism frequently embarrassed the DOJ and FBI, wasn’t quite so lucky. Last week, he was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by another two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $890K in restitution. That was the penalty for pleading guilty to three charges: “accessory after the fact”, a charge he faced for attempting to negotiate redactions in the stolen data, “obstructing justice” because he moved his laptop from a table to a cabinet, and “threatening a federal agent” in a video posted on the internet. The justification provided for his harsh sentence was a “trafficking in stolen authentication features” charge, for sharing a hyperlink to a public website, that the prosecution dropped before his plea…

…While I can’t speak to Barrett’s case detail, he claims (and I believe) that the government made at least 41 false statements against him. During his pre-sentencing allocution, for instance, Barrett reminded the court that, at his bond hearing, a federal agent swore “that I have lived in the Middle East, a region I have never actually had the pleasure of visiting.”

It reminded me of a similar, easily disproven, statement made in my own case: “After knocking on his door, the FBI Special Agents witnessed Mr. Levison exit his apartment from a back door, get in his car, and drive away.” It’s true that my apartment had a back door which led onto a balcony, but I lived on the fifth floor. Let me assure you, I cannot fly: at the time, I was recovering from a torn ACL and could barely jump.

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