PITTSBURGH — One of two Ohio men who threatened the University of Pittsburgh and claimed to be part of the Anonymous computer hacking network was sentenced Monday to three months in a halfway house and three months of home confinement.
U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti said the sentence she imposed on Brett Hudson, 27, of the southwestern Ohio town of Wilmington, was based largely on a motion filed by prosecutors.
Federal sentencing guidelines suggested that she could have sent him to prison for 18 months, even though he had no criminal record.
Assistant U.S. attorney James Kitchen would not discuss the motion because it is under seal. Defense attorney Warner Mariani said Hudson cooperated with the government in the investigation.
The home-confinement portion of the sentence is part of two years of probation, during which probation officers will monitor Hudson’s computer use.
Hudson pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy.
He and Alexander Waterland, 25, of Loveland, Ohio, used computer programs to scrape content from Pitt’s Web site in April, 2012, while the university was, separately, subjected to repeated bomb threats.
The two used YouTube, Twitter, and email to claim they were part of Anonymous and threatened to release private information unless the University of Pittsburgh apologized for not protecting student data.
The university has said that the two never got any private data.
Judge Conti said the victims of the threats were “the students, their families. It was in a period of turmoil because of other issues.”
Waterland was sentenced previously to one year and one day in prison.
Charged in the bomb threats is Adam Stuart Busby of Scotland, who has not yet been extradited.
The 64-year-old Scottish man from Dublin was indicted last year as the person responsible for emailing 40 bomb threats targeting the University of Pittsburgh.
A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh also charged Mr. Busby with emailing bomb threats to federal courthouses in Pittsburgh, Erie, and Johnstown, Pa., and with threatening U.S. attorney David J. Hickton.
He has been held in Dublin on a Scottish warrant for similar crimes there.
Mr. Busby is charged in the United States with 20 counts of wire fraud, 16 counts of maliciously conveying false information, two counts of international extortion and one count of threatening a federal officer. All are felonies with maximum penalties ranging from 20 years in prison for wire fraud to two years in prison for international extortion.
According to the Irish Times, Mr. Busby is a leader of the Scottish National Liberation Army, which seeks independence for his homeland.
He served prison time in Ireland for emailing two bomb threats in 2006 to Heathrow Airport in London. Those threats, which cited specific international flights, claimed to be from the Scottish National Liberation Army, according to the Times.
The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rich Lord is a staff writer for the Post-Gazette.
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