An Ohio man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy for helping to threaten the University of Pittsburgh in April and May.
Brett Hudson, 26, of Hillsboro, confirmed to U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti that he helped Alexander Waterland to threaten to release data scraped from the website of an already skittish Pitt. At the time, Pitt was the scene of near-daily bomb threats, with which Mr. Hudson and Mr. Waterland were not involved.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Kitchen said that from April 25 through May 14, the two downloaded information on Pitt students and faculty, then used YouTube, email and Twitter to threaten university officials with its release. They claimed to be part of the loose-knit "hacktivist" group known as Anonymous.
Their demand was that Pitt apologize publicly for not protecting the data.
Pitt officials have said that no private information was compromised.
Mr. Hudson will be sentenced Feb. 8, and faces a maximum of five years in prison. His attorney, Warner Mariani, said he will seek probation.
"This is a great guy," he said of Mr. Hudson. "Mr. Hudson made one little error in judgment and we'll get past that. ??? He's been cooperating with the government since the very beginning."
Mr. Waterland, of Loveland, Ohio, has pleaded not guilty.
Charged in the bomb threats is Adam Stuart Busby, of Scotland, who has not yet been extradited.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542