Mother of Anonymous-linked writer gets probation

Nov 8, 2013, 10:54 PM

DALLAS (AP) – A federal judge declined to order jail time for the mother of a writer and activist with ties to the hacking collective Anonymous, after she pleaded guilty to helping her son hide laptops from federal agents.

Karen Lancaster McCutchin was sentenced to six months’ probation and a $1,000 fine. She apologized Friday in Dallas federal court for hiding the laptops from agents during a March 2012 raid at their home. Her son faces three separate federal indictments and has gotten widespread attention among groups that contend he’s being unfairly prosecuted.

“My better judgment was clouded by my maternal instinct,” McCutchin said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Stickney said McCutchin’s crime “does not warrant any jail sentence at all.”

“I feel for you, as a parent,” Stickney told McCutchin, adding: “I know you did the best you could.”

Brown, 32, has written extensively about the Internet and the relationships between the federal government and private contractors _ and has continued to be published while in federal custody. He’s previously served as a de facto spokesman for Anonymous, the shadowy movement of “hacktivists” that has built a reputation for its bold attacks on governments and companies.

Brown landed in jail in September 2012 after posting YouTube videos and tweets that ripped his opponents in the online world and the FBI, which was later revealed to have been investigating him. In the videos, he names one agent and threatens to “ruin his life and look into his (expletive) kids.”

He was arrested shortly after that video was posted online. Since then, federal prosecutors have obtained three indictments against him: for making Internet threats and retaliating against law enforcement; for aggravated identity theft and device fraud charges for posting an Internet link; and for concealing the laptops.

In total, he faces more than 100 years in prison.

Defenders say he simply posted a link to a private contractor’s documents obtained by Anonymous that included credit card numbers, and that he said what he did in the videos because he feared authorities coming after his mother, whom he called a simple “rule follower.”

“When it comes to your family, it’s hard to be rational,” said one of his attorneys, Charles Swift, earlier this year.

McCutchin’s attorney, Bob Webster, said she wanted to try to help Brown, who has acknowledged using drugs in media interviews and in court, and did what she thought was right at the moment.

“The last thing she wanted was to bring harm to Barrett,” Webster said. “She would do that until her dying breath. If circumstances arose, I’m very sure she would do that again.”


Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
2 days ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
2 days ago
A high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Mont., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. The huge, high-alt...
Associated Press

Chinese balloon soars across US; Blinken scraps Beijing trip

A Chinese balloon sailing across the U.S. drew severe Pentagon accusations and sent excited or alarmed Americans outside with binoculars.
3 days ago
Protesters march Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn., over the death of Tyre Nichols, who di...
Associated Press

6th officer fired after beating death of Tyre Nichols

A sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols.
3 days ago
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Denver Court throws out Wyoming doctor’s pill convictions

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out the convictions of a doctor accused of overprescribing powerful pain medication and ordered a new trial for him.
3 days ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a restaurant in Rolling Meadows, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. America...
Associated Press

A surprising burst of US hiring in January: 517,000 jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) — For nearly a year, the Federal Reserve has been on a mission to cool down the job market to help curb the nation’s worst inflation bout in four decades. The job market hasn’t been cooperating. Consider what happened in January: The government said Friday that employers added a sizzling 517,000 jobs last […]
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Mother of Anonymous-linked writer gets probation