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Imprisoned Journalist & Whistleblower Barrett Brown Released From Prison

Published: November 29, 2016
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Barrett Brown, a Texas-based journalist who was imprisoned by federal authorities following a raid of both his apartment and his mother’s house amid his own investigations into government defense contractors, was released from prison Tuesday, five months before his scheduled release date.

Brown, who pleaded guilty two years ago to three Internet threats, accessory after the fact, and interfering with the execution of a search warrant, had originally been charged with more than a dozen crimes and faced more than 100 years in prison. A majority of the charges were dropped after his lawyers challenged the wisdom of the allegations in court.

The accusations that concerned press freedom and Internet advocacy groups most were those regarding his sharing of a publicly available link containing hacked material and thousands of credit-card account numbers related to the hack of Stratfor, a global intelligence firm.

Investigators say that the data breach was carried out by the hacking collective Anonymous. Brown had an often-contentious relationship with the group yet he was nonetheless regarded falsely as their spokesperson. Although Brown had no involvement in the hack, the court ordered that he also pay nearly $900,000 in restitution to Stratfor when he was sentenced last year to 63 months in prison.

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