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Home » Hacking News » Another plot twist in eBay hacking case

Another plot twist in eBay hacking case

by Nikola Strahija on January 25th, 2002 In the past week, Jerome T. Heckenkamp--accused of breaking into the computer networks of eBay, Exodus Communications and other companies--has filed to put himself back into federal custody, asked to dismiss his attorney, noted cyber lawyer Jennifer Granick, and now has requested that she be allowed to represent him once more.


"As long as I was out on bond, I didn't feel free anyway," said Heckenkamp, in an interview at the Santa Clara Country Jail in San Jose, Calif. "And I can't work on my case properly with the computer restrictions."
Heckenkamp was taken into custody at his own request after a hearing Friday when, as first reported by Newsbytes, he persuaded a U.S. magistrate to return the $50,000 in bail a friend had posted on his behalf. The accused hacker also fired his defense attorney, noted cyber law expert Jennifer Granick, to represent himself in court.

"I didn't feel like I was running the show," says Heckenkamp, who charges that Granick wasn't fighting his case with sufficient vigor. "I'm the only one who's going to lose out. I'll fight this with all my heart." Granick, clinical director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, wouldn't comment on the case, citing attorney-client obligations.

Heckenkamp has been charged with seven counts of accessing computers without authorization and eight counts of intercepting computer communications. The charges stem from intrusions by a hacker known as MagicFX into the networks at eBay, Exodus Communications, Juniper Networks, Lycos, E*Trade and Cygnus throughout 1999, according to an indictment filed in December 2000.

The indictment claims that Heckenkamp is MagicFX. Heckenkamp says he's innocent on all counts.
"Some of these companies I had never even heard of before I was charged," says Heckenkamp, who claims that hackers penetrated his dorm-room computer when he was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, and used it to crack other systems. "There's plenty of evidence to support that," Heckenkamp says.

Heckenkamp is scheduled to reappear before the same magistrate Wednesday morning, when he'll ask to be released without reposting bail, and without the pre-trial computer restrictions. He'll also ask the court to formally approve him as his own defense attorney. Granick will also attend the hearing.

If he isn't released, Heckenkamp says he's prepared to fight his case from behind bars. "There's been three plea bargains offered so far, and I'm not interested in any of them," he says. The only settlement that he'd consider would be "one that would involve no time and no felony record. And then I would think about it."


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