Federal prosecutors are opposing a tech-savvy journalist’s bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his convictions on computer hacking charges.
Without relief from a federal judge or a higher court, former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys could have to begin serving a two-year prison term as soon as Wednesday.
Keys’ defense team asked U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller to allow Keys to remain free during his appeal, but in a filing Tuesday, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said there is no valid basis to hold off Keys’ prison sentence.
Prosecutors said Keys poses an “economic” threat because he sent harassing emails to viewers of a Fox TV affiliate where he once worked and provided hackers with login credentials for the Tribune Company’s content management system.
“Keys cannot possibly carry his burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he poses no economic danger to the community,” the prosecution wrote. “Since his conviction, moreover, defendant has repeatedly refused to accept responsibility for his actions and in fact has expressed contempt for the jury’s verdict.”
Prosecutors also dispute the legal basis for Keys’ appeal, which they said lacks substance.
Mueller is expected to rule soon on Keys’ stay request.
Last week, the judge ordered Keys to pay $249,956 in restitution for the hacking, which resulted in a brief defacement of an article on the Los Angeles Times website. The sum includes about $50,000 in costs related to the changes to the LA Times story and $200,000 to rebuild a viewer database at the Tribune-owned Fox affiliate.