The mother of the activist-journalist with links to Anonymous was sentenced to six months’ probation Friday for helping her son hide laptops from the FBI.
Karen Lancaster said in a federal court in Dallas: “My better judgment was clouded by my maternal instinct.” The judge appeared to sympathize with the argument. He said: “I feel for you, as a parent. … I know you did the best you could.”
Brown was arrested last year after posting tweets and YouTube videos threatening an FBI agent who was investigating him. Brown accused the agent of harassing his mother. The charges against him carry a potential prison sentence of more than 100 years.
McCutchin pleaded guilty earlier this year to obstructing the execution of a search warrant, prosecutors alleging that she hid two laptops belonging to her son, Barrett Brown, in a kitchen cabinet. She was also fined $1,000. McCutchin had faced a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Brown, 32, is a Dallas-based journalist who has written for publications including the Guardian and Vanity Fair. His work centres on the secretive relationships between government security agencies and private contractors. He is not a hacker but has worked with Anonymous as a de facto spokesman. The loosely-organised international hacking network has mounted a series of cyber attacks in recent years against targets including government departments and corporations.
… Federal prosecutors have issued 17 charges against Brown, who has maintained his innocence. They include making threats on the internet, obstruction of justice and posting a link in a chatroom to documents hacked by Anonymous and posted on WikiLeaks containing the credit card numbers of clients of Stratfor, a private intelligence agency. Critics of his arrest have questioned whether simply sharing a link to stolen information should be considered a crime.