February 20, 2013
The National Lawyers Guild is hosting a press conference before a federal court hearing in which the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan will decide on a motion calling for her recusal from the case of Jeremy Hammond.
Heidi Boghosian — Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild
Jason Hammond — Jeremy Hammond’s twin brother
Michael Ratner — President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights
Alexa O’Brien — Journalist, Founder, US Day of Rage
A federal judge is scheduled to decide on a recusal motion brought by Hammond’s NLG lawyers. A press conference will precede the hearing.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Press Conference and Rally at 9:30am
Court hearing begins at 10:30am
Hearing — 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 12A, New York, NY
Press Conference — Foley Square, Center and Pearl streets
Livestream — http://www.ustream.tv/wearechange
The chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan will decide Thursday on a motion brought by NLG lawyers representing Jeremy Hammond, who is accused of hacking the private security firm Stratfor. The motion calls on the judge, Loretta Preska, to step down from the case because her husband, a client of Stratfor, was directly affected by the hack.
“The conflict of interest here is clear cut,” said NLG Executive Director Heidi Boghosian. “Judge Preska is required to avoid the appearance of bias so that, even if she owned one share of Stratfor stock, she would be obligated to recuse herself. How can she be impartial when the case directly affects the man she wakes up to every morning?”
The recusal hearing is the latest development in the case stemming from a December 2011 hack which released millions of internal emails and the personal information of over 800,000 clients of the private intelligence firm Stratfor. Published through the website Wikileaks, the emails lay bare the company’s inner workings and its relationships with government and corporate clients including the Department of Homeland Security, Dow Chemical, and Goldman Sachs.
Guild lawyers representing Jeremy Hammond filed the recusal motion in December. The email address and password of Preska’s husband, Thomas Kavaler, are among those disclosed in the Stratfor hack. Kavaler uses the affected email address for business at the law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel, where he is a partner and where Judge Preska once worked. In addition to Kavaler’s information, private emails of major corporate clients to his law firm, including Merrill Lynch, were disclosed in the hack.
Hammond is one of five people arrested for the online action led by FBI informant Hector Monsegur, known online as Sabu. Hammond is also accused of participating with Monsegur in a hack of the Arizona Department of Public Safety website in protest of the state’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 law. Hammond has been held without bail since his arrest in March 2012 and has been in solitary confinement for over three weeks.
“Jeremy shouldn’t be in jail right now and Judge Preska knows it,” said Jason Hammond, Jeremy Hammond’s twin brother. “An anonymous group of people disrupted the elite world she lives in and now she’s trying to make an example out of him. There’s no way he can get a fair trial in her courtroom.”
Hammond is charged with one count of computer hacking conspiracy, one count of computer hacking, and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. The charges fall under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a statute written in the 1980s which has drawn widespread criticism for being outdated and vague. In a pretrial hearing, Judge Preska said that Hammond is facing from 35 years to life imprisonment.
The National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has members in every state.