An online activist who was instrumental in pushing the Steubenville rape story into the national spotlight has shed his anonymity and granted an interview to Mother Jones. As previously reported at Reason 24/7, Deric Lostutter, who is affiliated with the group Anonymous, was raided by the FBI under suspicion of hacking into a Steubenville High School sports fan page.
Lostutter denies hacking into the site and writes on his blog that he has received a "Target Letter," meaning that the government is summoning a grand jury to build a federal case against him. The warrant references four separate federal charges, including "Computer Crime," meaning he could face up to ten years in federal prison for the hacking-related charges. Recall that before he committed suicide, online activist Aaron Swartz faced 35 years in prison for similarly murky "computer crimes." The actual Steubenville rapists received one-to-two year sentences.
Lostutter's description of the FBI raid on his house is a telling reminder that brute force is practically standard operating procedure for U.S. law enforcement. Via Mother Jones:
At first, [Lostutter] thought the FBI agent at the door was with FedEx. "As I open the door to greet the driver, approximately 12 FBI SWAT team agents jumped out of the truck, screaming for me to 'Get the fuck down!' with M-16 assault rifles and full riot gear, armed, safety off, pointed directly at my head," Lostutter wrote today on his blog. "I was handcuffed and detained outside while they cleared my house."
This is not the first time that actors on the periphery of this case have faced legal trouble. Earlier this year, First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza spoke to Reason TV about a whistleblowing Ohio blogger whom he successfully helped defend against defamation charges she faced after publishing commentary, photos, and social network posts related to the case. Watch below.