On April 10, 2013, I sat in courtroom 12 A of the Federal Courthouse in New York City with dozens of Jeremy Hammond supporters. I watched Jeremy Hammond, dressed in a grey jumpsuit, as he was escorted into the courtroom to sit with is defense team. Once seated, he turned around and said quietly, “What’s up everybody” while smiling. His mother was in the courtroom for the first time since his arrest on March 5, 2012, and his friends and family smiled and waved until Judge Loretta Preska entered the courtroom.
Jeremy is accused of accessing the intelligence firm Stratfor and its database, releasing emails that were later released to the public by WikiLeaks. He could spend 37 years to life in prison for allegedly accessing information detailing a global surveillance system Trapwire that's been monitoring activists groups like Occupy Wall Street and PETA and the spying on victims of the Bhopal disaster. See What would we know without you, Jeremy Hammond? for details.
I traveled to New York specifically to show court solidarity for Jeremy's appearance. Although I have never met Jeremy, I cannot ignore the level of governmental corruption surrounding his case. Already, Jeremy Hammond has spent over one year in prison with time in solitary confinement; he has been denied bail by a judge with a conflict of interest, and he has been refused access to his own case materials. These materials include 59,00 chat logs that contain 3.5 million lines of text. During the fourteen visits between Jeremy and his defense team, the government issued laptop has only been available four times. Since the February 21, 2013 recusal hearing Jeremy has had five additional hours of time with a computer to work on his defense, bringing the total amount of time to eleven hours. This is simply not enough.
In Judge Preska’s courtroom, the defense attorney explained that despite the fact that a laptop was provided to them in January by the U.S. Government, they have been unable to review materials related to Jeremy’s case in a timely manner. While they have been working with Adam Johnson at the Metropolitan Correctional Center to make sure this computer is available when they visit Jeremy, the defense has experienced what seems to be a communication problem amongst staff at MCC. It is my understanding that the defense puts in a request for the computer to be available prior to a scheduled meeting with Jeremy. Mr. Johnson receives the request and then puts the computer up front, but the staff may change shifts and not know the laptop is there when the defense arrives to meet with Jeremy. This causes delays as defense attorneys wait in the MCC for the staff to find this laptop and has severely limited the time they’ve been able to spend reviewing the “discovery.” Moreover, the computer itself cannot access the internet, so the defense is unable to conduct internet research while meeting with Jeremy and may have to leave the meeting to conduct research elsewhere. Eleven hours is not enough.
Computer access is critical for the defense, and considering the current conditions of Jeremy’s incarceration, it seems unlikely that he can possibly receive a fair trial. Had he been released on bail, he would have been able to analyze this material with his defense team constantly. As it stands, the defense team needs to be able to review these 3.5 million lines of text with Jeremy because only he may recognize information that will aid in his defense. Preska’s denial of bail has heavily impacted this case to the point that one questions whether Jeremy’s entrapment by an FBI agent whose plea bargain was presided over by none other than Judge Loretta Preska and lack of access to his own case materials is by design. This system does, after all, allow Stratfor to engage in secret, illegal surveillance; the federal government continues to pursue activists and journalists like Matthew Keys and Barrett Brown and obviously wants to keep some of its secrets hidden (Occupy NOLA is especially grateful to Matthew Keys for providing this information about the FBI monitoring NOLA activists). It seems likely that Jeremy's freedom jeopardizes this web of secrecy and entrapment. While the FBI had no problem allowing the Stratfor emails to be turned over to WikiLeaks, their use of an informant and nature of the “discovery” (the 3.5 million lines of text with possibly up to 45000 chat participants/co-conspirators) indicates that the United States does not want more of its secrets uncovered. I have not seen the “discovery” but question how the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jeremy Hammond is guilty.
They are undoubtedly attempting to prove just that; the US government can access these documents whenever they want; additionally, they can be assisted by the very hacker/informant who orchestrated the Stratfor event. I am under the impression that Hector Monsegur (aka Sabu) is allowed to access the internet to assist the US government and possibly wreak havoc on the lives of other activists, while Jeremy Hammond is not able to work with his attorneys on his own defense.
At Hammond’s April 10 court appearance, the US Attorney requested an additional twenty days to determine a trial schedule. These twenty days will not count towards the speedy trial provision.
The courtroom was packed with family, friends, and supporters in what Jeremy’s twin brother Jason described as the largest group of courtroom supporters since Jeremy’s arrest. The defense requested a ten minute visit for Jeremy and his mother and brother.
Judge Loretta Preska asked the U.S. Marshalls if they could accommodate this.
“It’s up to the judge,” one Marshall replied.
Judge Preska permitted a ten minute visit that could not allow physical contact or passing of papers. After the courtroom emptied, Jeremy Hammond was able to turn around in his chair and face his family from his chair across and talk. Jeremy Hammond was granted his first meeting with his mother and brother since his arrest, and it was ten minutes long. After the gross abuse of power by the courts, this ten minutes seemed like a precious gift and not what citizens should be able to expect from the Criminal Justice system.
Outside the courthouse, Jeremy’s supporters gathered and discussed the case, and my footage is available below.
After the wonderful noise demonstration at MCC the previous night, at which his family and friends sang to him from the sidewalk beneath the prison, it felt good to know he had seen his mother and brother.
If you'd like to write to Jeremy, you can do so at this address:
Jeremy Hammond #18729-424
Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row NY, NY 10007
Check out Mail to the Jail for more information about writing to jailed anons.
To keep updated about this case, check out the following:
Free Jeremy Hammond Support Network
Mail to the Jail.org FreeAnons.org
Mail to the Jail on Facebook
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