The Other McCain

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UPDATE: Walker v. Kimberlin, Et Al. (Also: Why ‘Doxing’ Is Always Illegal)

Posted on | November 19, 2012 | 15 Comments

John Hoge’s latest news in the Virginia case of Aaron Walker v. Brett Kimberlin, et al., is that Walker’s attorney Dan Backer has filed motions for default judgments against Kimberlin’s co-defendants Ron Bryanert and Neal Rauhauser. Backer is requesting that the court in Prince William County schedule the hearing on this motion for Dec. 4, the same date as a hearing on Backer’s motion for procedural sanctions against Kimberlin.

Furthermore, Backer has filed notice that Brett Kimberlin has breached the court’s order on the sealed discovery for the fifth time.

It is perhaps about time to point out the hazards of amateurism illustrated here. As every student of Kimberlin’s criminal career knows, the Speedway Bomber became somewhat renowned as a “jailhouse lawyer” during his 17 years in federal prison, filing more than 100 actions on his own behalf. But what was his success rate? I’m not sure anyone has ever bothered to check.

So here we see Kimberlin as the defendant in a civil suit, representing himself pro se, in a case where the plaintiff Aaron Walker, although a trained and experienced attorney, has enlisted the services of the esteemed Dan Backer, Esq., to represent him.

Kimberlin evidently has taken this case lightly and/or has overestimated his ability to lie his way out of a jam, and as a result has committed numerous errors that may put him at an extreme disadantage as the case advances. In fact, it is entirely possible that on Dec. 4, the judge will find Kimberlin in contempt of court and have him spend a few days in the Prince William County Jail.

Meanwhile, the esteemed Dan Backer, Esq., methodically sticks to the law and the facts, with the effect of presenting the judge with a stark contrast between the two sides of the dispute: Humble law-abiding plaintiff Walker vs. arrogant scofflaw defendant Brett Kimberlin.

Now, ask yourself why neither Brynaert nor Rauhauser has bothered to respond to the Walker lawsuit, and the answer seems obvious: Kimberlin encouraged them to believe that he, Wizard of Jailhouse Lawyering, would succeed in getting the case dismissed before it ever got to the point of their being required to deal with it. If that was their belief, then it appears their faith in Kimberlin may be misplaced.

Judging from the filing for default against Rauhauser, it would appear that Neal is behaving like a fugitive from justice at this point, which may or may not relate to the federal case against Barrett Brown that I wrote about last night. Among other things, Brown is accused of conspiring to “dox” an FBI agent and, while his co-conspirator in that (alleged) crime is not named in the indictment, Brown’s acquaintance with Rauhauser certainly would make Neal a possible candidate as “another person known to the grand jury.”

It is interesting to note, in this connection, another lesson about the hazards of amateurism. While researching the Brown case yesterday, I came across a site called “Occupy Peace,” run by a liberal lawyer named Sue Basko. Her purpose is to help keep protesters and “activist” types out of jail, and in writing about the indictment of Barrett Brown, she says this:

IS COUNT TWO ABOUT “DOXING”?
YES. Count Two alleges that Barrett Brown asked someone to find info on the internet about the FBI Agent, and someone searched on the internet for such information.  The indictment does not state that the information was ever found or ever posted; it does not need to be.  The Conspiracy allegedly exists because the two people, Barrett and someone else known to the grand jury, allegedly agreed to commit this crime.  If two people agree to commit a crime and some step is taken in furtherance of the crime, conspiracy exists.

Maybe Barrett Brown should have consulted Sue Basko before he began making threats to against an FBI agent and the agent’s family, and conspiring with “another person known to the grand jury” to publish “restricted information” about them. It’s against the law to “dox” a federal employee, that is, to publish their private information — home address, etc. — in order to expose the employee to harassment or intimidation. Furthermore — and some of the script-kiddies are going to be shocked by this — “doxing” is illegal no matter who the target is, as Sue Basko elsewhere explains:

Doxing is always illegal, whether it is done against a federal employee, a state employee, or a regular person.  There are federal and state laws that specifically address doxing government employees.  With regular citizens, doxing falls under various state criminal laws, such as stalking, cyberstalking, harassment, threats, and other such laws, depending on the state.  Since these doxing threats and activities are made on the internet, the law of any state may be invoked, though most often an investigator  will look to the state in which the person making the threat is located, if this is known, or the state in which the victim is situated.  A state prosecutor can only prosecute violations of the laws of his or her own state, and of acts that extend into their state.  When acts are on the internet, they extend into all the states.
Misinformation was spread that doxing is legal.  I am not sure how or why anyone fell for that misinformation.  Surely, people must understand instinctively, even if they were misled about the law, that if they are threatening someone or putting them at risk, or tormenting or harassing the other on the internet, that this must be illegal.  Common sense would tell you that bullying or jeopardizing another would be illegal in some way.  So yes, doxing is illegal, no matter who the target.

What has Neal Rauhauser been doing for the past year and a half? What has Rauhauser done to Patrick Frey, Aaron Walker, James O’Keefe, Mike Stack, Lee Stranahan, Jennifer Emick, Ali Akbar and so many other of his targeted enemies? Has Rauhauser been “threatening someone or putting them at risk, or tormenting or harassing” these people?

Whether or not Neal Rauhauser has committed any felony, misdemeanor or tort against these people, we must leave to the judgment of qualified authorities. But to say that what Neal Rauhauser has done is wrong — well, that’s just a Neutral Objective Fact.

UPDATE: By the way, we should be extraordinarily grateful to Sue Basko for her common-sense explanation of why “doxing” is always illegal. This prompts the question, as she says, of why anyone ever fell for the “disinformation” that it was legal.

I’ve got a hunch that this mistaken belief originated in the anonymous/pseudonymous world of hackers and trolls, where nobody’s “real life” identity is known and where, behind the presumed protection of anonymity, people do all kinds of things they would never do publicly under their own names. We see this, for example, in the case of notorious Reddit troll Michael “Violentacrez” Brutsch.

No one would have openly done, under their own name, what Brutsch did at Reddit: Create and monitor a “jailbait” forum featuring photos of underage girls. Yet Brutcsh believed, and his Reddit hosts and fanboys shared his belief, in an absolutist view of “free expression” that included the right to anonymity as a principle.

To quote another Texan: “Oops.”

Within troll world, the people who engaged in “doxing” did so in the belief that their identities would never become known, and so this clearly illegal form of harassment — publishing people’s addresses, workplace phone numbers, etc., in order to intimidate them and expose them to harm — became an accustomed behavior that seemed to them entirely right and legal.

So when Barrett Brown became angry at an FBI agent, he did so inside a troll mindset where “doxing” is a routine method of retaliation.

Oops.”

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Comments

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client…and that goes double when we are dealing with a jail house lawyer like Kimberlin.

    I am looking at this from a distance. I am no psychologist. But I know narcissistic behavior when I see it. Add to that a bucket of sociopath and a desire to be an outlaw and you have our boy Brett.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    Wow. You learn something new every day. I clicked on one of the links and evidently there’s some site called reddit that is big or something.
    Otherwise known as a mere polyp on the vast tube of the internets.

  • JeffS

    Moral of the story (thus far): Trolls are mentally challenged.

  • jwallin

    I have always been suspicious of any group that uses jargon. It means they’re hiding something and it usually is to the outsider’s disadvantage.

    (lawyers, doctors, Ed. majors, bankers, traders, campaign mgrs) and more. They all have an interest in making what they do less obvious to those they afflict/prey upon/fleece/sponge/demand exorbitant payment or otherwise demand to be worshipped for their superior skill and knowledge that they have and that YOU don’t understand. And they’ll do their best to see that you never DO understand.

    DOXING == babble by trolls and hackers so’s they can think they’re kewl.

    (in case it’s not clear, this is not aimed at Mr. McCain’s usage as he is reporting FACTS and not carrying on some hip techno conversation meant to demonstrate to his audience his massive understanding and firm grasp of the lingo. noted by the quotes around the word denoting it’s unorthodox meaning.)

    using other than Layman’s terms should be illegal and punishable by a massive titty twisting for every violation. (women and children exempted)

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    I doubt Rauhauser or Brynaert are relying on Kimberlin’s legal counsel. There is plenty of free legal advice available from those who have actually passed a bar exam and practiced for a living – and besides, those guys are crazy and evil, not stupid.

    The reasons they didn’t respond were 1) they weren’t served because they stay off the grid and there is no way to tell whose sofa they are crashing on any given evening, and 2) they have no assets, so what the heck do they care for judgments against them? Good luck collecting.

    All Walker will be able to say is that they are deadbeats, as if everyone didn’t already know that (including the children Neal won’t pay to support).

  • Dustin

    Walker, Backer, and associates do not quit.

    I pray this leads to some measure of justice.

    As for doxing always being a crime… I agree that should be obvious if you think about it. I also agree with jwallin that the term itself suggests some insecurity in the ‘hackers’ and trolls and jerks who use that kind of tactic. This isn’t a sexy spy thriller. This isn’t espionage. It’s not a matter of social justice that those creeps posted pictures of Ali’s mother’s home or talked about punching Patterico or finding pictures of his wife to use for their campaign to silence anyone critical of Brett Kimberlin.

    I have been particularly outspoken about Kimberlin from an earlier stage in this fiasco, so I’ve watched these attempts to shut down such criticism for quite a long time. Not only do these tactics highlight who is the villain, but they have completely failed. They failed because Aaron and his supporters have made sure of it.

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  • http://saberpoint.blogspot.com Stogie Chomper

    Doxing is a term used by hackers. It means to find and disclose a person’s personal details on the internet. There is even a website called Stickydox where these details are posted for public view.

  • http://saberpoint.blogspot.com Stogie Chomper

    I have from time to time partially doxed people who were harassing me, such as vicious commenter/flamers, informing them that I know where they work or what apartment complex they live in, and insinuating that I might call their employer and inform them that an employee is using their system for possibly illegal purposes (cyber-stalking). However, I have never allowed anyone to post anyone’s physical address or phone number on my site, to protect the person from possible physical harm by fanatics. I didn’t do this for legal reasons, but because it seemed the ethical thing to do.

    I do, however, occasionally post email addresses from flamers so their email box will fill up with Nigerian spam and scam offers. I figure it’s the least I can do.

  • Hampster

    I don’t understand how doxing can always be a crime, IF it just involves releasing information that’s publicly available.

    Can the mere re-publication of such information be characterized as criminal or civil “harassment”? In a country where the First Amendment remains on the books? I don’t see it.

    “A plaintiff has no privacy interest with respect to a matter that is already public. Thus, you cannot be held liable for discussing or republishing information about someone that is already publicly available (e.g., found on the Internet or in the newspaper).”
    Source: http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/publication-private-facts

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