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This article about Journalist and activist Barrett Brown concerns his third indictment in 2013.  Barrett was charged with making “threatening videos” directed at an FBI agent, linking to information to a data dump from a hack of a private CIA company called Stratfor and for putting his laptop in his mother’s kitchen cupboard.

Originally posted on Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here are some of the early reports and links on Barrett Brown’s newest case.

For those that do not know who Barrett Brown is, I encourage you to Google him.  Barrett is an information activist, journalist and author.  Barrett founded Project PM, a wiki that tracks the surveillance state.  He is in a federal detention facility in Texas and is facing 100 years in prison, if I’ve done my quickie math in my head right.

His crimes, you ask? He is alleged to have made threatening YouTube videos aimed at the FBI agent that raided his home, he is alleged to have shared a link that contained credit card and access information, and he supposedly hid laptops when the FBI came-a-knocking.  That’s right, that sorta stuff could cost you 100 years these days.

Please consider donating to his defense fund.  Barrett is interested in hiring a private attorney.  He is pleased with his present Federal Public Defender, but has expressed interest in an attorney that can dedicate more time to visiting with Barrett to discuss the evidence and strategy.  This money will be used to retain a local attorney, it is not to pay for my services.

Barrett Brown

Political Prisoner Barrett Brown

Donation link:



Feds Pile On More Charges Against Anonymous Agitator Barrett Brown

By Kim Zetter 

The Guardian

Hacktivist anger over US government’s ‘ludicrous’ cyber crackdown

By Karen McVeigh 

Dallas Morning News
By Robert Wilonsky

For the third time in three months, feds indict Anonymous’ not-spokesman Barrett Brown, charging him with obstruction

The Dallas Observer

By Anna Merlan
Barrett Brown Was Hit With a Third Indictment Yesterday, This Time For Concealing Evidence

Ars Technica

When the FBI comes knocking, don’t hide laptops in your mom’s dishes

Barrett Brown faces two new counts of “concealment of evidence” in federal case

Barrett Brown


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After Signing a Plea Deal, Barrett Brown Could Leave Prison This Year



Written by



Barrett Brown


Illustration by Dell Cameron

On Monday, US Attorney Sarah Saldaña filed a superseding indictment in the government’s case against Barrett Brown.

“It’s conceivable,” attorney Jay Leiderman told me yesterday, that the prosecution, which dismissed 11 of Brown’s charges last month, “is about to reach a plea deal with Barrett Brown.”

It appears now, that a plea deal has been reached. After bringing multiple cases against Brown, three of which he had pleaded “not guilty” to, federal prosecutors have salvaged a minute victory over Brown. Originally, they sought to put him behind bars for 105 years. The prosecutors were granted a seal on the plea agreement by the court.

Of the two counts pleaded to in the indictment, one, of “Accessory After the Fact,” links Brown to Jeremy Hammond a/k/a “o,” and the 2011 Stratfor hack. The otherclaims that Brown, having been “aided and abetted by another person,” (his mother), obstructed the execution of a search warrant on March 6, 2012, the day after Hammond’s arrest.

Leiderman, who was driving while we spoke, had me read the three-page indictment to him. If Brown pleaded to the two counts, we calculated together that he would face a maximum punishment of 4.5 years: the accessory charge carries a 2.5 year punishment, and the second count carries two maximum punishments (18 U.S. Code § 15011502) of “not more than one year.”

“Realistically, what he faces is 30 months with 19 already served,” said Kevin M. Gallagher, director of Free Barrett Brown. He added that Brown will likely petition the court for leniency, and told me, “We believe he has a strong chance of getting time served, and ultimately will be out of jail this year.”

The new indictment illustrates just how differently the government and his supporters view Brown’s actions. Federal prosecutors state that he intentionally diverted attention away from Hammond, misleading the authorities (and Stratfor) with regards to his identity.

Brown is, however, a credentialed journalist who has been published by numerous respected outlets. As such, supporters would argue he had a constitutional right to defend his sources against prying federal investigators. The prosecution has continuously shifted its tactics in pursuing the case, and “has thoroughly embarrassed itself,” said Leiderman. He reflected on the Government’s dismissal of charges that sought to criminalize Brown’s sharing of a hyperlink, citing a clear inability for prosecutors to hold their case together.

A re-arraignment is scheduled to take place in the Dallas federal courthouse on April 29th, according to electronic filings.

“Yeah,” said Gallagher, “he’s coming home soon.”


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jay leiderman holiday wishes

A special holiday time JL Law avatar for my special clients, potential clients, friends and folks that one day will be friends.  Attorney Jay Leiderman and the staff at Jay Leiderman Law wish you all the best!


jay leiderman

Wishing you a happy holidays


Attorney Jay Leiderman and all the staff at Jay Leiderman Law, California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialists wish you and yours a very happy holidays.  Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza and a very prosperous New Year.

Jay Leiderman is a criminal defense attorney in Ventura, California. He co-authored the first ever book on the legal defense of California medical marijuana crimes and has been called the “Hacktivist’s Advocate” for his work defending those accused of computer crimes. He has been recognized and won awards for going above and beyond to represent clients accused of all sorts of crimes. Jay frequently lectures around the state and nation on various criminal defense topics.

Other noteworthy cases Leiderman defended include People v. Diaz, which went to the California Supreme Court and made law on the ability of police to search a cell phone, Louis Gonzalez, who was falsely accused of rape, attempted murder and torture by the mother of his child and was jailed for 83 days before he was released and ultimately found factually innocent, the Andrew Luster or so-called “Max Factor” heir habeas corpus proceeding, wherein his sentence was reduced by 74 years the first-ever trial of medical marijuana defendants in San Luis Obispo County, California County, and Ventura County, California’s first ever concentrated Mexican Mafia prosecution – the largest case in the history of Ventura County.

Leiderman co-authored a book on the legal defense of California medical marijuana crimes, which was published by NORML, the National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is also a founding member of the Whistleblower’s Defense League, “formed to combat what they describe as the
FBI and Justice Department’s use of harassment and over-prosecution to chill and silence those who engage in journalism, Internet activism or dissent.” Leiderman frequently comments in diverse areas of the media about criminal and social justice issues. He also lectures around the state and nation on various criminal defense topics.



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Afternoon Show   →   Opinion: Manning trial is about ‘the public’s right to know what their government is up to’

Jun 3, 2013 14:56

WASHINGTON — The Bradley Manning trial began Monday at Fort Meade, MD. In February, Manning pleaded guilty to lesser charges that could result in 20 years behind bars, but prosecutors are hoping for an “aiding the enemy” charge that could result in life behind bars.

Voice of Russia’s Rob Sachs talks with Jay Leiderman, a lawyer based in California who often represents those in the internet hacking community

 Bradley Manning

Please visit the Bradley Manning Support Network to learn more about the case. 

“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

“God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

-Quotes from an online chat attributed to Bradley Manning

Bradley ManningNobel Peace Prize nominee PFC Bradley Manning, a 25-year-old Army intelligence analyst, who released the Collateral Murder video, that shows the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. Manning also shared documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and series of embarrassing US diplomatic cables. These documents were published by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, and they have illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, along with a number of human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy. Given the war crimes exposed by these documents,  PFC Bradley Manning should be given a medal of honor.

Read more about Bradley Manning here.

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Trial Counsel failed to do any investigation into the mitigating facts of this case.  There was no evidence of good character or mental illness provided to the court.

Petitioner’s trial attorneys failed to raise any issue about petitioner’s mental health at any time.  This would have served to explain the context in which these crimes were committed and thereby undo the media’s and prosecution’s portrayal of petitioner as a predator.  The attorneys do not appear to have ever done a psychiatric work-up on petitioner.[1]  Nothing at all was done to counter the perception that petitioner was a monster

[1] See Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510 (2003) (it is not a “tactical decision to fail to make a psychiatric investigation); see also Rompilla v. Beard, 545 U.S, 374 (2005) (failure to obtain relevant background records is ineffective assistance of counsel). Wiggins has a particularly telli ng passage: “any reasonably competent attorney would have realized that pursuing these leads was necessary to making an informed choice among possible defenses, particularly given the apparent absence of any aggravating factors in petitioner’s background.”

Ineffective assistance of counsel


The Supreme Court Syllabus for Rompilla v Beard is as follows:

Petitioner Rompilla was convicted of murder and other crimes. During the penalty phase, the jury found the aggravating factors that the murder was committed during a felony, that it was committed by torture, and that Rompilla had a significant history of felony convictions indicating the use or threat of violence. In mitigation, five members of Rompilla’s family beseeched the jury for mercy. He was sentenced to death, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed. His new lawyers filed for state postconviction relief, claiming ineffective assistance by his trial counsel in failing to present significant mitigating evidence about Rompilla’s childhood, mental capacity and health, and alcoholism. The state courts found that trial counsel had sufficiently investigated the mitigation possibilities. Rompilla then raised inadequate representation in a federal habeas petition. The District Court found that the State Supreme Court had unreasonably applied Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, concluding that trial counsel had not investigated obvious signs that Rompilla had a troubled childhood and suffered from mental illness and alcoholism, unjustifiably relying instead on Rompilla’s own description of an unexceptional background. In reversing, the Third Circuit found nothing unreasonable in the state court’s application of Strickland, given defense counsel’s efforts to uncover mitigation evidence from Rompilla, certain family members, and three mental health experts. The court distinguished Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510–in which counsel had failed to investigate adequately to the point of ignoring the leads their limited enquiry yielded–noting that, although trial counsel did not unearth useful information in Rompilla’s school, medical, police, and prison records, their investigation had gone far enough to give them reason to think that further efforts would not be a wise use of their limited resources.

Held: Even when a capital defendant and his family members have suggested that no mitigating evidence is available, his lawyer is bound to make reasonable efforts to obtain and review material that counsel knows the prosecution will probably rely on as evidence of aggravation at the trial’s sentencing phase. Pp. 4—18.

    (a) Rompilla’s entitlement to federal habeas relief turns on showing that the state court’s resolution of his ineffective-assistance claim under Strickland “resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by” this Court, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). The state court’s result must be not only incorrect but also objectively unreasonable. Wiggins, supra, at 520—521. In judging the defense’s investigation in preparing for a capital trial’s sentencing phase, hindsight is discounted by pegging adequacy to “counsel’s perspective at the time” investigative decisions were made and by giving deference to counsel’s judgments. Strickland, supra, at 689, 691. Pp. 4—5.

    (b) Here, the lawyers were deficient in failing to examine the court file on Rompilla’s prior rape and assault conviction. They knew that the Commonwealth intended to seek the death penalty by proving that Rompilla had a significant history of felony convictions indicating the use or threat of violence, that it would attempt to establish this history by proving the prior conviction, and that it would emphasize his violent character by introducing a transcript of the rape victim’s trial testimony. Although the prior conviction file was a public record, readily available at the courthouse where Rompilla was to be tried, counsel looked at no part of it until warned by the prosecution a second time, and even then did not examine the entire file. With every effort to view the facts as a defense lawyer would have at the time, it is difficult to see how counsel could have failed to realize that not examining the file would seriously compromise their opportunity to respond to an aggravation case. Their duty to make all reasonable efforts to learn what they could about the offense the prosecution was going to use certainly included obtaining the Commonwealth’s own readily available file to learn what it knew about the crime, to discover any mitigating evidence it would downplay, and to anticipate the details it would emphasize. The obligation to examine the file was particularly pressing here because the violent prior offense was similar to the crime charged and because Rompilla’s sentencing strategy stressed residual doubt. This obligation is not just common sense, but is also described in the American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice, which are “ ‘guides to determining what is reasonable,’ ”Wiggins, supra, at 524. The state court’s conclusion that defense counsel’s efforts to find mitigating evidence by other means were enough to free them from further enquiry fails to answer the considerations set out here, to the point of being objectively unreasonable. No reasonable lawyer would forgo examination of the file thinking he could do as well by asking the defendant or family relations what they recalled. Nor would a reasonable lawyer compare possible searches for school reports, juvenile records, and evidence of drinking habits to the opportunity to take a look at a file disclosing what the prosecutor knows and plans to read from in his case. Pp. 5—14.

    (c) Because the state courts found counsel’s representation adequate, they never reached the prejudice element of a Stricklandclaim, whether “there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result … would have been different,” 466 U.S., at 694. A de novo examination of this element shows that counsel’s lapse was prejudicial. Had they looked at the prior conviction file, they would have found a range of mitigation leads that no other source had opened up. The imprisonment records contained in that file pictured Rompilla’s childhood and mental health very differently from anything they had seen or heard. The accumulated entries–e.g., that Rompilla had a series of incarcerations, often related to alcohol; and test results that would have pointed the defense’s mental health experts to schizophrenia and other disorders–would have destroyed the benign conception of Rompilla’s upbringing and mental capacity counsel had formed from talking to five family members and from the mental health experts’ reports. Further effort would presumably have unearthed much of the material postconviction counsel found. Alerted to the school, medical, and prison records that trial counsel never saw, postconviction counsel found red flags pointing up a need for further testing, which revealed organic brain damage and childhood problems probably related to fetal alcohol syndrome. These findings in turn would probably have prompted a look at easily available school and juvenile records, which showed additional problems, including evidence of a highly abusive home life. The evidence adds up to a mitigation case bearing no relation to the few naked pleas for mercy actually put before the jury. The undiscovered “mitigating evidence, taken as a whole, ‘might well have influenced the jury’s appraisal’ of [Rompilla’s] culpability,” Wiggins, supra, at 538, and the likelihood of a different result had the evidence gone in is “sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome” actually reached at sentencing, Strickland, supra, at 694. Pp. 14—18.

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