Indicted Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys was operating as an "undercover-type" investigative journalist during his dealings with Anonymous, his lawyer Jay Leiderman told Huffington Post Friday. Leiderman is known for representing the Anonymous-associated hackers. Now he's claiming that his client was only pretending to be one of them to get a good story, and claiming prosecutorial overreach in the indictment brought against Keys on Thursday.
Tor Ekeland, Keys's other attorney, also commented to HuffPo, appearing on HuffPost Live on Friday evening. Ekeland called the DOJ's indictment "threadbare" and penalties Keys could face if convicted "draconian."
"All that happened was just some sort of juvenile defacing of a little more than a paragraph of an LA Times website," Ekeland said. He later added: "which he didn't do."
Reuters suspended Keys with pay, but that hasn't stopped him from tweeting, including comments about his newly formed legal team and its history with the hacking collective: "We're assembling a great team that I have faith in," Keys tweeted at a follower Friday night. "Their prior cases are irrelevant to me." And his lawyers also have a big social media presence. Ekeland has tweeted several times about the Keys case, as well as this:
Sabu is quite the snitch, isn't he? rt.com/usa/lulzsec-sn…— Tor Ekeland, P.C. (@TorEkelandPC) March 15, 2013
Sabu, whose real name is Hector Xavier Monsegur, has been an FBI informant since his June 2011 arrest. In March 2011, he accused Keys of giving "full control of LATimes.com to hackers." In an interview with The Atlantic last year, Leiderman said Sabu had a "really malignant heart." Strong words from Leiderman, who has also pushed the early narrative about bullying prosecutors and computer crimes, telling a hacker-friendly radio show on Friday that the terms of the Justice Department's indictment, which charges Keys with three conspiracy charges that could total 25 years in jail, amount to "crazy overreach."
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Ekeland also represented "iPad hacker" Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, who was found guilty of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and fraud in connection with personal information in November 2012. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday and faces up to 10 years in jail.