By Tor Ekeland

2016 has been a busy year for Tor Ekeland, P.C. Here is a roundup of some of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and other trial and appellate cases we’re litigating, organized by Federal Judicial Circuit:

2nd Circuit (New York, Connecticut, and Vermont)

U.S. v. Anthony Allen, Anthony Conti 16-898 (2d Cir.)

The firm represents Mr. Anthony Conti on his appeal to the Second Circuit of his conviction for manipulating a key interest rate benchmark. On November 5, 2015 in the first LIBOR rate manipulation trial of its kind in the United States, a jury convicted LIBOR submitter Anthony Conti for his alleged role in the manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark rate. Departing downward from the sentencing guidelines, and the government’s sentencing recommendations, Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff sentenced Mr. Conti to a year and a day in federal prison (the extra day entitles Mr. Conti to serve only ten months of his sentence if he maintains good behavior). Recognizing that there were substantial issues for appeal, Judge Rakoff granted Mr. Conti bail pending appeal.

Appellant Anthony Conti’s Joint Opening Brief

Amicus Brief

 

United States v. Lauri Love 14-CR-126 (CM) (S.D.N.Y)

In 2014 U.K citizen Lauri Love was indicted his alleged role in hacking the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Chicago in protest of the United States Government’s prosecution of noted computer rights activist and innovator Aaron Swartz that led to Mr. Swartz’s suicide while awaiting trial. On September 16, 2016 the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled in favor of Mr. Love’s extradition to the United States, and he is currently appealing. He was also indicted in the 3rd and 4th Circuits, as noted below. Donations can be made to Lauri Love’s legal defense through the Courage Foundation.

Indictment

Interview with Tor Ekeland on RT September 16, 2016

 

Mackenzie Architects v. VLG Real Estate Developers, LLC et. al. 1:15-CV-01105 (TJM) (DJS) (N.D.N.Y.)

The Firm is representing Vermont based architectural firm Mackenzie Architects in its copyright infringement action over a major residential development in Cohoes, New York. All of the Defendants moved to dismiss the claims against them, and in a decision dated September 8, 2016, Judge McAvoy of the Northern District of New York denied the motion, deciding that Mackenzie Architects can continue with his copyright claims. Firm partner Mark H. Jaffe and associates Fred Jennings and Adam Elewa authored the successful brief on behalf of Mackenzie Architects.

 

3rd Circuit (New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virgin Islands)

U.S. v. Lauri Love 13-CR-712 (SDW) (DNJ)

In 2014 U.K citizen Lauri Love was indicted his alleged role in hacking government computer systems allegedly tied to New Jersey in protest of the United States Government’s prosecution of noted computer rights activist and innovator Aaron Swartz that led to Mr. Swartz’s suicide while awaiting trial. On September 16, 2016 the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled in favor of Mr. Love’s extradition to the United States, and he is currently appealing. He was also indicted in the 2nd and 4th Circuits. Donations can be made to Lauri Love’s legal defense through the Courage Foundation.

Indictment

Interview with Tor Ekeland on RT September 16, 2016

 

4th Circuit (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, & Federal Administrative Agencies)

U.S v. Lauri Love 14-CR-258 (CMH) (E.D. Va.)

In 2014 U.K citizen Lauri Love was indicted his alleged role in hacking government computer systems allegedly tied to Virginia in protest of the United States Government’s prosecution of noted computer rights activist and innovator Aaron Swartz that led to Mr. Swartz’s suicide while awaiting trial. On September 16, 2016 the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled in favor of Mr. Love’s extradition to the United States, and he is currently appealing. He was also indicted in the 2nd and 3rd Circuits. Donations can be made to Lauri Love’s legal defense through the Courage Foundation.

Indictment

Interview with Tor Ekeland on RT September 16, 2016

 

5th Circuit (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi)

U.S v Michael Thomas 4:13-CR-227 (ALM) (ED Tx.)

In June of 2016, in an important CFAA case regarding the definition of unauthorized damage, a jury convicted Michael Thomas of a single count felony violation for causing damage to his employer’s computer by deleting data, despite the fact that he had full authorization to delete data on the system. At sentencing Judge Amos Mazzant III departed downward from the government’s sentencing recommendation of 41 months and sentenced Mr. Thomas to the time he served in pre-trial detention, which was 4 months, and 3 years supervised release. He is currently free pending appeal and a decision on his post-trial motions for a directed verdict under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29.

Motion for Judgement of Acquittal

Government Response

Reply to Government

 

6th Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee)

U.S. v. Lostutter 5:16-cr-00062 (DCR) (REW) (E.D. KY)

On July 7, 2016, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Kentucky indicted Deric Lostutter for his alleged role in the hack of the Steubenville, Ohio High School football team website “Roll Red Roll.” The hack, which Virginia resident Noah McHugh pleaded guilty to in a CFAA misdemeanor plea deal with the government, was allegedly in response to the rape of a 16-year-old girl by members of the Steubenville High School football team. The rapists, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays, were sentenced to serve at least 1 year and 2 years respectively. Mr. Mays received an extra year for taking and distributing photos of the victim, which constituted child pornography. Mr. Richmond was added back to the Steubenville football team roster after serving his sentence. Mr. McHugh, in his plea agreement, alleges that he performed the hack at Mr. Lostutter’s instigation.

Mr. Lostutter is charged in a 4 count indictment with conspiracy to violate the CFAA, violating the CFAA by gaining unauthorized access to a computer, causing damage to a computer, and lying to an FBI agent about the hack. He faces a statutory maximum of 16 years in jail. Trial is currently scheduled for November 8, 2016.

If you would like to donate to our CFEE defense fund you can do so here





Indictment

 

9th Circuit (California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada)

U.S. v. Matthew Keys 16-10197 (9th Cir.)

 On October 7, 2015 a federal jury convicted Mr. Keys under the CFAA for his role in the edit of a title and byline to a story about tax cuts on latimes.com. Departing downward from the sentencing guidelines recommendation of 70 months, Mr. Keys was sentenced to 24 months plus $249,956 in restitution. Tor Ekeland and Mark Jaffe, along with co-counsel Jay Leiderman, represented Mr. Keys at trial and are currently representing him on appeal. Donations can be made to our CFAA defense fund via Paypal here





 

U.S v. Keith Gartenlaub 16-50339 (9th Cir.)

 In 2014, the FBI investigated Mr. Keith Gartenlaub, a Boeing IT manager, for allegedly passing top secret plans for the Boeing C-17 military cargo plane to China. Conducting a secret search using a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, the FBI found no evidence of espionage. The FISA searches, however, allegedly turned up evidence of child pornography on his computer, even though the evidence at trial failed to demonstrate that it was ever viewed or opened. In December of 2015 Mr. Gartenlaub was convicted of one count of receipt of child porn and one count of possession of child porn. The judge, however, dismissed the receipt of child porn count and its mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years based on a post-trial Rule 29 motion, and downwardly departed from the sentencing guidelines range. The Firm, alongside John D. Cline, represents Mr. Gartenlaub on appeal. Donations can be made to our CFAA defense fund via Paypal here





Indictment 

Motion of Judgment of Acquittal