A federal complaint filed in California accuses the Department of Justice of trying to collect the names of anonymous donors to a legal defense fund for journalist Barrett Brown, who had been imprisoned for four years prior to his release in November.
Barrett Brown, a Texas-based journalist who was imprisoned by federal authorities following a raid of both his apartment and his mother’s house amid his own investigations into government defense contractors, was released from prison Tuesday, five months prior to his scheduled release date. Brown, who pleaded guilty two years ago to three Internet threats, accessory after the fact, and interfering with the execution of a search warrant, had originally been charged with more than a dozen crimes and faced more than 100 years in prison. A majority of the charges were dropped after his lawyers challenged the wisdom of the allegations in court.
Up until March 2014, Brown was facing more than 100 years in prison.
"Just the threat of getting charged is enough to chill that journalistic practice. It sends a real scary message to those people who do this for a living.”