Barrett Brown, an activist journalist once known as the unofficial spokesman for Anonymous, was sentenced Thursday in Dallas federal court to five years in prison for his involvement with the hacker collective. Brown pleaded guilty to three charges: transmitting threats, accessory to hacking charges, and interfering with the execution of a search warrant. Judge Samuel A. Lindsay also ordered Brown to pay $890,000 in restitution.
Brown gained notoriety as the self-appointed mouthpiece for Anonymous and his extensive writings about the shadowy network of hacktivists known for using computer attacks in support of causes it deems worthy. He has written for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, and Vice among others. He became a cause célèbre for many journalists and digital rights activists who argued that Brown was being punished for doing his job as a reporter covering the hacker community. An attorney with the Electronic Freedom Foundation said the government’s prosecution of Brown “undermined and threatened news organizations.”