Colorado cyberattack suspect freed on bail
July 21, 2011
DENVER (AP) – A Colorado man charged with participating in cyberattacks on PayPal can be released on bail as long as he doesn’t have access to the Internet, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, of Fort Collins, is one of 14 people arrested in nine states and the District of Columbia this week for allegedly attacking PayPal’s website in retaliation for PayPal’s decision to suspend the accounts of WikiLeaks.
A group called Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place over several days in December, according to an indictment in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The indictment said Anonymous referred to the cyberattacks as Operation Avenge Assange, a reference to WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer said Kershaw could be released after paperwork was complete. His court-appointed attorney and the prosecutor remained in court as another case got under way and were unavailable for comment.
Kershaw is charged with conspiracy to commit intentional damage to a protected computer and aiding and abetting intentional damage to a protected computer. The first charge carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and the second carries a sentence of 10 years. Each count also carries a $250,000 fine.
Shaffer ordered Kershaw released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, meaning he doesn’t have to post the money but would have to pay it if he violates the conditions of his release.
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In addition to the ban on Internet access, Kershaw was ordered to stay in Colorado unless traveling to California for court hearings. His next appearance is scheduled for Sept. 1.
Kershaw was also ordered to allow pretrial supervisors to check his home for Internet access, abstain from drugs and alcohol and submit to urinalysis tests.
Kershaw wore a brown jail jumpsuit and his wrists were cuffed to a chain around his waist. His brown hair was cropped short and he had a bushy beard the width of his mouth jutting from his chin.
He appeared amiable and relaxed, answering “yes, sir” to Shaffer’s questions. When Shaffer finished reading the conditions of Kershaw’s release, Kershaw said, “Sounds good.”