updated 07:53 pm EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
Conviction tossed on inappropriate venue, Auernheimer demands recompense
The man accused of hacking personal information out of AT&T servers by the federal government, Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, is demanding that the US Government pay 28,296 Bitcoins ($13.9 million at today's exchange rate) for his time in federal custody. Auernheimer wrote on his Twitter account that "it is time, now that the fraud and violence committed against me has been exposed by the appeals process, to begin making amends to me."
The Third US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously tossed the conviction of Auernheimer, who was accused of stealing the personal data of about 120,000 iPad users from AT&T. Auernheimer was convicted of the crimes in November 2012, and sentenced to 41 months in prison, with much of it spent in solitary confinement.
The user data in question was extracted from AT&T servers in 2010 with the help of another man, Daniel Spitler, and a group calling itself Goatse Security. It was then shared with a writer for Gawker, who exposed the names of some of the users in the list.
The appeals court ruled that Auernheimer was in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the time, while Spitler was in San Francisco, and the AT&T servers were in Atlanta and Dallas. The Gawker writer was likewise outside of New Jersey -- so, no parties of the trial were in New Jersey at any time, making the venue inappropriate. Other than the venue, the appeals court didn't rule on any other aspects of the trial, and the conviction was overturned with the possibility of the Department of Justice re-filing charges in the future. Auernheimer's defense believes that a second trial is "barred by double jeopardy," but the appeals court and the Department of Justice don't see it that way, and are still evaluating options for prosecution.
Auernheimer writes that "I was taken from my childhood home at gunpoint on January 18, 2011, and I was not allowed to freely exercise my liberties as a citizen until April 11, 2014. That's 1,179 days that [the government] used my time that I am now billing for (I gave a discount by not including the last day). I am owed 28,296 Bitcoins. I do not accept United States dollars, as it is the preferred currency of criminal organizations such as the FBI, DOJ, ATF, and Federal Reserve, and I do not assist criminal racketeering enterprises."
His Livejournal missive also claims that the payment will be put to good use. Auernheimer claims that should the payment be made, it will be used for "building a series of memorial graves for the greatest patriots of our generation: Timothy McVeigh, Andrew Stack, and Marvin Heemeyer," all men responsible for acts of violence against government buildings.