DALLAS (Reuters) - A freelance journalist who said he was a top player in the hacking group Anonymous was sentenced to just over five years in prison by a federal judge in Dallas on Thursday for charges including aiding in cyber crime.
The judge sentenced Barret Brown to 63 months in prison, including the 31 months he has already served.
Brown, 33, pleaded guilty in April to being an accessory after the fact for attempting to assist a hacker, hiding two computers from FBI agents who were executing a search warrant and threatening an FBI agent in a video.
The accessory after the fact charge relates to an incident in December 2011 when someone Brown knew as “o” hacked the computer network of Austin, Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor and obtained confidential information, including credit card details, according to court papers.
Brown knew that the incident harmed Statfor’s website and removed confidential data, according to court documents.
He also attempted to communicate with Stratfor’s top official on behalf of the hacker to minimize damage, the papers said.
In a statement read in court on Thursday, Brown said his role was to post a link which had already been made public.
He said the government “exposed me to decades of prison time for copying and pasting a link to a publicly available file that other journalists were also linking to without being prosecuted.”
Brown expressed regret for some of some of his actions, including threats made in online videos.
“The videos were idiotic, and although I made them in a manic state brought on by sudden withdrawal from Paxil and Suboxone, and while distraught over the threats to prosecute my mother, that’s still me in those YouTube clips talking nonsense about how the FBI would never take me alive,” he said.
Attempts to reach Brown’s attorneys were unsuccessful.
Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Mohammad Zargham