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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Feb > Feb 16

'Pentagon Hacker' Plays Joker On Us Authorities

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 05:34:23 -0500
Fwd Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 05:34:23 -0500
Subject: 'Pentagon Hacker' Plays Joker On Us Authorities

Source: The Register - London, UK


Thursday 15th February 2007

'Pentagon Hacker' Plays Joker On Us Authorities
Discloses plea offer, pleads human rights

By Mark Ballard

Gary McKinnon, the hobby hacker who is fighting against a US
extradition order, has pulled a legal wild card on his accusers
in bid to face trial at home.

In the court of appeal yesterday, McKinnon's lawyers made
reference to discussions that have been kept secret since 2003
when a plea bargain was considered, said Karen Todner,
McKinnon's lawyer.

"We went for a plea bargain," said Todner, "The Americans said,
if he pleaded guilty and didn't oppose the extradition he would
get a much shorter sentence of three or four years - as opposed
to ten or twelve - and he would come home within six to twelve
months to serve the rest of his sentence."

McKinnon was adamant that he wanted to face trial in the UK and
refused the bargain, yet agreed with the US that the deal should
be kept secret and never drawn out and used in any subsequent
court hearing.

However, said Todner, US prosecutors exhumed the plea bargain
and put it before judges during his extradition hearing last
year. So as far as the defence was concerned, it was fair game
to use the bargain in his appeal.

The plea bargain is useful for McKinnon's appeal, said Todner,
because of Cobb v. U.S.A., which in 2001 found that coercing
someone into extradition would infringe their human rights.

The US bargainers had done just that, Todner told The Register:
"They said, 'if you don't go voluntarily we'll go for the
maximum sentence and you won't be repatriated. That, we argued,
is a breach of his human rights."

McKinnon has been feeling the pressure of the trial and stayed
away from yesterday's appeal hearing due to illness. His blog
quoted a ZDNet story that reported heart palpitations and a
hospital visit.

"It's been going on for five years now," said Todner, "If he'd
been sentenced here he'd be out by now. It's had a traumatic
effect on his life, with the pressure of facing a phenomenal
sentence in the US."

Lords Justice Goldring and Kay will pronounce judgement on
McKinnon's appeal against extradition next week.

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