This post begins a series that will comprise the entirety of the Matthew Keys sentencing documents filed by the defense – Part 1
JASON S. LEIDERMAN, SBN 203336
LAW OFFICES OF JAY LEIDERMAN
5740 Ralston Street, Suite 300
Ventura, California 93003
TOR EKELAND, PRO HAC VICE
MARK JAFFE, PRO HAC VICE
TOR EKELAND, P.C.
195 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Pro Bono Attorneys for Defendant
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
|Case No.: 2:13-CR-00082 (KJM)
Defendant MATTHEW KEYS (“Defendant” or “Keys” or “Matthew”) states the following for the Court’s consideration in determining his sentence:
In late 2010 the loosely knit hacking collective Anonymous was in the news. Anonymous launched cyber-attacks against Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon.com. These attacks were political protests supporting Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks had published State Department cables on its site and because of this, the companies refused to process donations for WikiLeaks.
Because of this, numerous reporters sought access to Anonymous. Matthew Keys was one of them. Matthew gained access to a top level Anonymous Internet chat room, then known as Internet Feds. In the room were hackers that would become famous, infamous, celebrated, prosecuted and ultimately sentenced by either the US, English or Irish courts. The period of 2010 through early 2012 was one of recklessness and whim on the Internet – the Internet had arrived in a new way in popular culture. Articles about the people Matthew Keys met in Internet Feds now number over 9,000. Recently a play at the Royal Court Theater in London, “Teh Internet is Serious Business (sic)” depicted the exploits of the denizens of Internet Feds – Kayla, T-Flow (known as Chronom in Internet Feds), Sabu (cast as the villain), PwnSauce and other Internet Feds participants. Internet Feds turned into its more famous successor-LulzSec. Matthew Keys had access to Internet Feds only for a short while, before the transformation into Lulzsec. His conviction rests upon this time in Internet Feds, essentially for the passing of a username and password to the content management system for the Los Angeles Times resulting in minor changes to a minor website story on tax cuts that were easily restored in roughly 40 minutes. For this he faces a statutory maximum of 25 years in jail and $750,000.00 in fines. He has been on supervised release for this entire case without any violations, has appeared every time he was required, and has respected every order of this Court. Therefore, for the reasons stated below, he asks the Court to impose a non-custodial sentence.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
This case stems from minor edits to the headline of a trivial story on the Los Angeles Times website on December 14, 2010. That day, using the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Company’s content management system (“CMS”), the user “ngarcia” altered a few words in a latimes.com story on tax cuts.
Because of this, Matthew was convicted of one count of conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1030(a)(5)(A); one count of knowingly transmitting a code with the intent to cause damage to a protected computer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A); and one count of attempt to transmit a code with the intent to cause damage to a protected computer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2 and 1030(a)(5)(A).
For this he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail, $750,000 in fines, 9 years of supervised release, and criminal forfeiture. U.S. v. Keys, Superseding Indictment, 2:13-CR-00082 (Dec. 4, 22 2014) (ECF # 44). (See generally, Pre-Sentence Report, ECF No. 127 (PSR).)
The PSR recommends an unconscionable sentence of 87 months and a 2-year term of supervised release. Even the government believes this is too much:
The statutory maximum for Keys’s crimes is 25 years, but in a statement given after the trial, a spokesperson for the US Attorneys Office said Keys would likely face less than five years.
“While it has not been determined what the government will be asking the court for, it will likely be less than 5 years,” the spokesperson said
“This is not the crime of the century,” [United States Attorney and the Prosecutor in this case Matthew] Segal said, adding that nonetheless Keys should not get away with his acts. At minimum, he may receive probation.
 Sarah Jeong, “Former Reuters Journalist Matthew Keys Found Guilty of Three Counts of Hacking,” available at http://motherboard.vice.com/read/former-reuters-journalist-matthew-keys-found-guilty-of-hacking-faces-25-years