Dallas man tied to hackers pleads guilty to 2 charges

Dallas man tied to hackers pleads guilty to 2 charges

A Dallas man once linked to an underground hacking group pleaded guilty Tuesday in two cases against him related to a federal investigation into stolen computer data.

Barrett Brown, 32, pleaded guilty to transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, for threatening the FBI agents who were investigating him.

He also pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer. In that case, evidence showed Brown assisted a hacker in 2011 who stole information from the computers of the private intelligence firm Stratfor. Brown offered to communicate with Stratfor’s chief executive on behalf of the hacker to see if the executive had any “reasonable requests” to redact any of the information that was hacked, court records show.

And Brown pleaded guilty to interference with the execution of a search warrant and aid and abet for hiding his laptop computers from the FBI when they searched his mother’s home in 2012.

He faces up to 81/2 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $475,000, court records show. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

Brown, who was viewed by some as a spokesman for the underground hacking group Anonymous, has been in federal custody since his arrest in 2012.

Ahmed Ghappour, one of Brown’s lawyers, said that his client will have served about two years in prison when he is sentenced and that he hopes that will be seen as enough. “We think he has served a considerable amount of time,” he said.

The most serious charge is the one involving threats to the FBI agents. Brown made some of the threats in a YouTube video he posted in which he said he would shoot any federal agents who came for him. Brown also said in a video that he would ruin one FBI agent’s life and look into his kids.

“There is no evidence that he had any intention of carrying out the threat,” Ghappour said. “At the end of the day, it was a poor choice to release frustration at a time when he felt cornered and not in his right mindset and plagued with worry about his mother.”

Brown’s mother, Karen Lancaster McCutchin, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for helping Brown hide the laptop computers and was sentenced last year to probation. Brown felt the FBI was targeting his mother for helping him, records show.

In a surprising move last month, the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas asked a federal judge to dismiss a significant portion of one of its criminal cases against Brown related to a link to the stolen Stratfor data that Brown posted on a website. The charges accusing Brown of trafficking in stolen data and aggravated identity theft were dismissed. Continue reading here.


Allen Police Searching For Suspects After Morning Bank Robbery Previous post Allen Police Searching For Suspects After Morning Bank Robbery Ex-Dallas officer indicted in connection with October shooting Next post Ex-Dallas officer indicted in connection with October shooting