Deric Lostutter, the online activist known as “KYAnonymous” facing federal charges of computer hacking, is accused of violating the conditions of his release.
Lostutter, who lives in North Carolina, has been ordered to appear at a Sept. 21 hearing in Lexington before Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier. Lostutter pleaded not guilty to the hacking charges on Sept. 7, and at that time Wier went over the conditions of release.
The government has not sought an arrest warrant for Lostutter. But until the hearing Wier has barred Lostutter “from use of or access to the internet or any electronic communication device or mechanism (to include cell phone use, text messaging, any any other electronic communication avenue” except to contact his attorney, probation office or immediate family.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj Gupta says in court documents that Lostutter repeatedly posted tweets linking to his website which describes the details and specifics of his case, and “which prominently solicits contributions for his personal living expenses (above a separate smaller link to contribute to his defense fund).”
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U.S. Probation Officer Mark George submitted a bond violation report which Wier has reviewed.
But defense attorney Tor Ekeland says in other court documents that Lostutter has “at all times complied” with conditions of his release “and has made no posts that violate these conditions.”
Neither the tweets nor the website link “violate any conditions of his release,” Ekeland argues.
Lostutter has an “investigative company” that performs background checks for clients and assists in court cases. The conditions of his release permitted Lostutter to “use the internet and devices to access the internet only for purposes of his business (to include servicing current clients and communicating with prospective clients).”
The conditions also permitted posts regarding crowd-sourcing such as “This is how to contribute to my defense fund” but not anything regarding the details or specific of the case.
Lostutter sought and received permission from U.S. Probation Office officials who said he was permitted to post links to a site that contains crowd-funding links, Ekeland argues.
“Mr. Lostutter did, and continues to do, his best to communicate with probation to assure compliance with his conditions of release, and probation at all times has indicated these posts were permitted,” Ekeland wrote.
Lostutter, 29, lived in Clark County in December 2012 when he allegedly took part in hacking into the computer of a man who ran a fan website for high school athletics in Steubenville, Ohio.
A few months earlier, two Steubenville High football players had been charged with raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl. The case drew national attention in part for the role social media played in calling attention to the assault and investigation.
Noah McHugh of Alexandria, Va. — Lostutter’s alleged co-conspirator who used the online identity of “JustBatCat” — has pleaded guilty in federal court in Lexington to one charge of accessing a computer without authorization.
That is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, according to a court record.
Lostutter faces a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison if he is convicted on the four felony charges brought against him. Typically in these types of computer-hacking cases, defendants receive between one and three years in prison.