A pretrial hearing in the case against accused LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond this week ended with the 27-year-old Chicago man being told he could be sentenced to life in prison for compromising the computers of Stratfor.
Judge Loretta Preska told Hammond in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday that he could be sentenced to serve anywhere from 360 months-to-life if convicted on all charges relating to last year’s hack of Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence company whose servers were infiltrated by an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous.
Hammond is not likely to take the stand until next year, but so far has been imprisoned for eight months without trial. Legal proceedings in the case might soon be called into question, however, after it’s been revealed that Judge Preska’s husband was a victim of the Stratfor hack.
After Anons gainedaccess to Stratfor’s servers, they collected a trove of internal emails and more thousands of credit card details belonging to the firm’s paid subscribers that were released last Christmas. A class action suit was filed against Strafor over the breach of security, and in June the company settled with its customers at an estimated cost of $1.75 million. Just now, though, it’s been learned that Judge Preska may have a vested interest in seeking a prosecution by any means necessary.
Among the thousands of Statfor client’s whose credit card data was compromised in the hack alleged to be linked to Hammond is Thomas J. Kavaler, a partner at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and the husband of Judge Preska. The archived document dump released by LulzSec last year includes personal information from Mr. Kavaler that suggests he was victimized in the attack and thus qualifies for the class action settlement.
In a press release issued under the branding of the Anonymous collective, supporters for Hammond call for Judge Preska’s immediate resignation from the case.
“Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy’s case, therefore violating multiple Sections of Title 28 of the United States Code,” the statement reads.
“Judge Loretta Preska’s impartiality is compromised by her Husband’s involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements,” it continues. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.”
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