Hacktivist Hammond sentenced to 10 years for Stratfor breach

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Jeremy Hammond, who pleaded guilty in May to exposing millions of emails by way of hacking intelligence firm Stratfor, was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison.

The 28-year-old Illinois native, who worked with LulzSec, an offshoot of the hacktivist group Anonymous, received the sobering verdict in a federal court in Manhattan.

Hammond's lawyers unsuccessfully pushed to have Loretta Preska, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, who handed down the ruling Friday, step down from the case under the argument that her husband may have been a Stratfor customer.

The judge denied Hammond bail in 2012 citing his “lack of regard for legal authority” and his advanced hacking skills.

The infamous hack of Austin, Texas-based Stratfor, which occurred around in late December 2011, entailed not only the exposure of emails, but the theft of 60,000 credit card numbers from clients, which hackers purportedly used to make $700,000 worth of donations to charities.

Back when Hammond pleaded guilty to computer crimes earlier this year, he said that he was proud to shed light on the secret dealings of Stratfor. Some of the shady details divulged via the email leaks reportedly included Stratfor's role in compiling data on various activist movements, including Anonymous and WikiLeaks.

In a May statement on his support website, Hammond wrote that it was a “relief” to proclaim that he worked with Anonymous during the Stratfor hack.

"I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors," Hammond said. "I did what I believe is right."

This Thursday, just a day before his sentencing, The Guardian interviewed Hammond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. Hammond has spent the better part of a year and a half in solitary confinement.

In the interview, Hammond called his looming sentencing a “vengeful, spiteful act,” adding that prosecutors were “trying to send a message to others who come after me...A lot of it is because they got slapped around, they were embarrassed by Anonymous and they feel that they need to save face."

Upon completing his sentence, Hammond must also undergo three years of supervised release. Ten years was the maximum sentence Hammond faced under the terms of his plea bargain agreement.
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