Accused U.S. government hacker Gary McKinnon's nearly decade-long legal saga is over after prosecutors in the U.K. announced that he will not face charges.
He had been threatened with trial in the United States. But earlier this year, British Home Secretary Theresa May withdraw an extradition order against him, citing that McKinnon suffered from depressive illness and Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.
That left any prosecution up to the 46-year-old's home country. But late last week, Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions in the U.K., announced that McKinnon would not be charged because chances of a conviction were unlikely, according to a BBC News report.
Starmer said in a statement, according to the BBC, that transferring evidence from the United States would have been logistically difficult.
U.S. officials had accused McKinnon of hacking into 97 computers belonging to the government, including those of NASA, the Pentagon, Air Force, Army and Navy. He allegedly deleted and accessed sensitive information on the computers from his London home between 2001 and 2002, costing the government $700,000 in damages.
McKinnon said that his motives were to uncover evidence of UFOs that the U.S. government was hiding. If extradited to the U.S., McKinnon would have faced up to 60 years in prison.His mother expressed relief about the news, but McKinnon's attorney said she would have preferred a U.S. pardon because now her client will be unable to travel to any countries that have extradition agreements with America, according to the BBC.
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