Monday, April 22, 2013

HuffPostLive Discussing Matthew Keys Termination From Reuters

22 April 2013

Jay Leiderman on HuffPostLive

AP Story
 Reuters editor charged with hacking: I was fired

A Reuters deputy social media editor accused of conspiring with hackers to deface a story on a news website says he has been fired.

His dismissal came the day before 26-year-old Matthew Keys was scheduled to appear in US federal court for the first time on the felony charges. His attorneys said he plans to plead not guilty.

US federal prosecutors allege Keys provided the hacking group Anonymous with login information to access the computer system of The Tribune, the parent company of The Los Angeles Times.

According to a federal indictment handed down last month, a hacker identified only as "Sharpie" used information Keys supplied in an internet chat room to alter a headline on a December 2010 Los Angeles Times story to reference another hacking group.

Tribune also owns a Sacramento television station Keys had been fired from months earlier.

Keys has said he did not commit the crimes he's accused of. He did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment, but he did post several online messages saying Reuters had not fired him as a result of the indictment.

"Just got off the phone. Reuters has fired me, effective today. Our union will be filing a grievance. More soon," he tweeted to his more than 35,000 followers.

He later tweeted a copy of a "final written warning" he said he received from Reuters in October, which admonished Keys for mocking a Google executive from a fake Twitter account he had created, saying the action demonstrated a "serious lapse of judgement and professionalism that is unbecoming of a Reuters journalist".

His attorney Jay Leiderman confirmed the firing, but said he would not comment on it because the Newspaper Guild was representing him on the matter. He added that "there is an appeals process that I will have to let play out".

The Guild did not immediately return a phone message seeking additional details.

Reuters hired Keys in 2012 and suspended him from his New York social media job on March 14. Thomson Reuters spokesman David Girardin declined to elaborate on why Keys was no longer employed.

Keys is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday (US time) in federal court in Sacramento. He is charged with one count each of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, as well as transmitting and attempting to transmit that information.

If convicted and sentenced to the maximum for each count, the Secaucus, New Jersey, resident faces a combined 25 years prison and a $US500,000 fine, prosecutors say. But experts say first-time offenders with no criminal history typically spend much less time in prison than the maximum term.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dennis Roberts Resume

My law offices are at 370 Grand Avenue, Oakland, California 94610, telephone (510) 465-6363, facsimile (510) 465-7375,, and

I received a B.A. degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1961 and an LL.B. from Boalt Hall, University of California School of Law, Berkeley, California, in 1964.
I have been a member of the California Bar since 1965 and am admitted to practice before all California courts, state and federal, numerous United States District Courts, the Fifth and Ninth Circuits of the United States Court of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court.

In the summer of 1963 under a program sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild I spent the summer in Albany, Georgia working for the only Black attorney in southwest Georgia, and one of only two Black attorneys in all of the Deep South willing to risk taking on a white law student clerk, C. B. King.

In November 2002 the new U. S. District Court in Albany, Georgia was named the C. B. King Courthouse - the only federal court in the deep South named for a black lawyer. When I was in Albany they wouldn’t let him use their law library.

The experience in Albany was so profound that upon graduating in 1964 and passing the California Bar exam I returned to Albany, Georgia, this time under the auspices of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council (LSCRRC), an organization of which I was a founding member, dedicated to producing research and providing summer interns to the Movement lawyers. From 1964 until 1966, I worked with C. B. King, Esq., where I represented members of the Student Non-Violent Coordination Committee (SNCC), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF), along with various local civil rights activists and movement groups. I defended numerous criminal prosecutions under various statutes from disorderly conduct to riot and arson and I was involved in dozens of federal suits under the Civil Rights Statutes for equal treatment of minority groups and public accommodation suits in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia and the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit. Much of my work was done in conjunction with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (Inc Fund).

In 1966, based on her starting an interracial nursery school in Albany one year before Head Start my wife was offered a full scholarship to get an MA in Pre-School Education at Bank Street College in NYC so we moved there.

From 1966 through 1969, I was the first staff attorney and administrator of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. The Center was founded by William Kunstler, Arthur Kinoy, Morton Stavis (New Jersey), and Ben Smith (New Orleans) as a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing equal treatment under the law to all citizens. While at the Center, I litigated cases in federal and state courts throughout the country on behalf of various Movement organizations and individuals. I brought numerous Dombrowski v. Pfister, [380 U.S.479] three judge federal suits, successfully attacking the unconstitutional application of state statues, including Carmichael v. Atlanta, Baker v. Binder and Brooks v. Briley; sought to enjoin enforcement of Title II of the McCarran Act (although unsuccessful, within a year or two Congress nullified the statute - this statute provided that "in time of national emergency" the Attorney General could round up "radicals" for immediate detention - despite Congress taking it off the books it has recently been reintroduced after Sept 11th); was involved in litigation on behalf of Rejes Tijerina in New Mexico (seeking to reclaim land stolen from the Native people by the U. S. Government); did the Oceanhill-Brownsville (Brooklyn, New York) litigation and other school suits; sued to enjoin enforcement of the Tennessee Anti-Evolution Statute (after suit was filed the Tenn. Legislature abolished the statute. That law prohibited the teaching of evolution and demanded a "god based" theory - interestingly enough I recently heard that Tennessee again has passed such legislation thanks to the Born Again vote); filed numerous appeals in various United States Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court; was responsible, along with Michael Tigar, Esq., for all of the pre-trial motions in the Chicago Eight (later Seven) case; was one of the attorneys in McSurely v. McClellen (USSC); did dozens of Grand Jury cases; numerous anti-VietNam war demonstration and selective service cases including Jeannette Rankin Brigade (USSC) and represented members of virtually every political action group active during that time period. I also represented members of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) in First Amendment litigation - quashed an injunction keeping Mark Rudd (SDS) from speaking on campus in Texas; was involved in the First Amendment issues in the flag burning case (Johnson) which went to the USSC and also did one in Georgia (not very successful in the early Sixties).

In 1969, I was awarded a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship and spent a year with the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County working with Black and Chicano community groups on police misconduct issues in Oakland, California.

From 1970 to 1973, I was an associate with Kennedy and Rhine in San Francisco, engaged in the general practice of law, with an emphasis on criminal defense and civil rights litigation. I was one of the pre-trial attorneys in the Angela Davis case, again with Michael Tigar and sued the City and County of San Francisco to enjoin police sweeps of young Asian men in Chinatown (Chan v. Alioto).

In 1973, I opened my own law office in Oakland. I have tried to dedicate a substantial portion of my time to pro bono work and in this regard, have represented a number of Asian and Latino community organizations, including serving as a volunteer attorney for the United Farm Workers Union and writing a portion of the winning brief in Murgia v. Muncipal Court (1975) 15 Cal.3d 286 (the lead California selective prosecution and equal protection case). I have also represented Dennis Banks and other members of the American Indian Movement(See, United States v. Loudhawk which went to the U.S.S.C. twice and the Ninth Circuit three times. This representation went on for 14 years. I successfully withstood the attempts to extradite Dennis to South Dakota from both California and Oregon. The federal criminal case brought against Mr. Banks has been litigated since 1975, in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. The case was finally resolved, favorably, 14 years later.

I have lectured at Boalt Hall (University of California Law School) and at seminars sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws); was on the faculty of the Hastings College School of Law for Trial and Appellate Advocacy (Criminal), am currently teaching at the Stanford University Law School Trial Advocacy Skills Workshop, the University of San Francisco Law School Trial Advocacy Program; and taught a law for journalists course for several years at San Francisco State University.

I am a past President of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (1980-1981), an organization of approximately 9,000 members; and was on the ACLU Legal Committee. I serve on the Board of Governors of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City; on the Board of the Prison Law Office (Marin County, CA); and served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Washington, D.C.) for four terms (12 years). NACDL is the largest and most respected criminal defense bar in the United States, having a core membership of well over 20,000 attorneys and a group of participating lawyers (through their state organizations like CACJ) bringing the total to about 25,000.

I am the only criminal lawyer in Oakland listed in the California Criminal Law section of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Naifeh and Smith (1991-1992). I have gained acquittals in four homicide trials as well as winning numerous jury trials, both civil and criminal in the state and federal courts of California and other jurisdictions, including People v. Kuzinich and Tausan, Santa Clara Superior Court (homicide) No. 207048 and United States v. Boban, et al, S.D.N.Y. (RICO) before Hon. Constance Baker Motley (see United States v. Bagaric, 706 F.2d 47 (2d. Cir. 1983) fn8. Both Kuzinich and Boban were trials which lasted three and one half months each. We were victorious in both cases. The Boban case (with 9 co-defendants) was a prosecution of Croatians in the U. S. who allegedly sent weapons to Croatia and committed violent acts against Yugoslav targets in the U. S. before the independence of Croatia.

I am curently involved in founding, with Jason Flores-Williams (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Jay Leiderman (Ventura, CA), the Whistleblowers Defense League (WBDL) a group of volunteer attorneys dedicated to providing counseling for those debating whether to expose themselves to prosecution for blowing the whistle on government misdeeds and representing those who have been prosecuted.

Dennis Roberts Attorney at Law

370 Grand Ave., Suite 1 
Oakland, CA 94610-4892 
PH: (510) 465-6363 
FAX: (510) 465-7375

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thanks to the Ventura County Star for this great profile of me!

Ventura attorney represents high-profile hackers in a red-hot area of the law

Read more:

By Tony Biasotti
Posted March 23, 2013

Jay Leiderman, a criminal defense attorney, checks his iPad for an update on a case in his Ventura office.

The client was known online as Commander X, the leader of the People’s Liberation Front, a group allied with the hacker collective Anonymous. He was suspected of engineering an attack on the county of Santa Cruz’s servers, an allegation that could land him in prison for up to 15 years.
His attorney, Jay Leiderman of Ventura, had never defended a computer crimes case. In the summer of 2011, after weeks of email and phone conversations, they decided to meet in person.
By then, Leiderman knew his client’s real name, but Commander X was keeping his identity a secret to the outside world. The client had a protocol for their meeting, and his lawyer followed it. Leiderman went to a specific street corner in a Northern California town — he won’t say which one — where he found a middle-aged homeless man sitting on the sidewalk.
Leiderman wrapped a dollar bill around his business card and dropped it in the man’s hat. Then he walked two blocks to a nearby park and sat on an empty bench.
The homeless man got up a few minutes later and joined Leiderman on the park bench. He was Christopher Doyon, also known as Commander X. The two men talked for hours.
“It feels really exciting at first, like you’re this spy lawyer,” Leiderman said in a recent interview in his Ventura office. “But then you get serious and get to work about it. It all gets normal very quickly.”
Helping shape law
Today, Leiderman is one of the top attorneys in the country for people accused of violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or the CFAA. It’s a red-hot area of law, the subject of recent congressional hearings by lawmakers concerned with the prosecution of programmer and activist Aaron Swartz, who was facing CFAA charges when he committed suicide in January.
Although he didn’t work on Swartz’s defense, Leiderman seems to have had a piece of almost every other headline-grabbing hacking case. This month, when Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys was indicted on charges of enabling a hack of a newspaper website owned by his former employer, Tribune Company, he hired Leiderman as one half of his defense team.
Like the rest of his computer crimes work, Leiderman took the Keys case pro bono. He pays the bills doing standard criminal defense work in Ventura County, including the ongoing appeal of convicted rapist Andrew Luster’s 124-year sentence, and defending medical marijuana sellers all over the state.
Computer crimes interest him for the same reason medical marijuana does: It’s an area of the law that’s relatively new, so there are plenty of gray areas and potential test cases.
“In both cases, you’re just starting to see the law being shaped, and you can be the tip of that blade that’s shaping the law,” he said.
Leiderman, 41, started his career as a public defender and now has his own firm. He traces his interest in computer crimes to late 2010 and early 2011, when his wife was pregnant with their son. They’d stopped going out at night, and Leiderman quickly grew tired of watching television.
He started reading about the hacker collective Anonymous and its war on PayPal, Visa and MasterCard. The companies had all blocked donations to WikiLeaks after the site published its trove of leaked diplomatic cables. Anonymous retaliated with something called a distributed denial-of-service attack, slowing down the financial companies’ websites.
The U.S. government was tracking the hackers and prosecuting some of them, and that didn’t sit well with Leiderman. He thought the denial-of-service attacks were legitimate protests and should be treated the same as a march or a sit-in.
Sometime in the spring of 2011, Leiderman announced on Twitter that he would be happy to represent any “righteous hacktivists” free of charge. A friend retweeted the message to influential people in the hacker community, and the next thing Leiderman knew, he was exchanging emails with Commander X.
Crime, punishment
Because he takes the cases pro bono, Leiderman is picky about which hackers he represents. In his view, they are people who are unjustly targeted by the government or who wouldn’t be able to navigate the justice system on their own.
He thinks Doyon is an example of both. Commander X was a sophisticated hacker and online activist, the leader of the People’s Liberation Front, a group allied with Anonymous. Christopher Doyon was a 50-something homeless man whose most recent photo ID, Leiderman said, was a 20-year-old library card.
Doyon allegedly hit the county of Santa Cruz with a distributed denial-of-service attack that slowed its servers to a crawl for half an hour. He claimed he did so to protest the county’s actions in breaking up a protest of the city of Santa Cruz’s policy against sleeping in public.
“It was a symbolic crime,” Leiderman said. “A symbolic punishment would have been something like a $200 fine.”
Instead, Doyon was arrested on federal CFAA charges that carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Leiderman said it was likely that Doyon would get six months or less, but a 15-year sentence was on the table.
Doyon jumped bail and says he fled to Canada last year. In an email interview, he said the stiff potential sentence was one reason he fled, along with bail conditions that severely limited his use of the Internet.
Doyon said he felt bad about fleeing because he knew it would make things difficult for Leiderman, whom he considers a friend and “one of the greatest attorneys ever.”
“Jay has a deeply held passion for the freedom of information and cyberactivism movement,” Doyon said.
Prosecutors disagree
Federal prosecutors dispute Leiderman’s characterization of his clients as righteous protesters or harmless hobbyists.
One of Leiderman’s clients, Raynaldo Rivera, pleaded guilty in October to his part in a 2011 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment by LulzSecurity, or LulzSec.
Sony had sued a hacker for “jailbreaking” his PlayStation 3 to let it run software unapproved by Sony and publishing a guide on his website for others to do the same. LulzSec then obtained and posted the names, passwords and personal information of thousands of Sony accounts.
Leiderman maintains that Rivera, now 20, is a “good and promising man” who was manipulated by an older LulzSec leader. Rivera will be sentenced soon, and Leiderman said he hopes that his client will get probation rather than prison.
The U.S. attorney’s office agreed to seek a sentence at the low end of the possible guidelines for Rivera. Still, Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, said in an email that Rivera committed a serious crime that put thousands of people at risk of identity theft. Some people did report having their email or Facebook accounts hacked after their Sony information was released online.
“This type of conduct is more than a prank and is worthy of a federal criminal prosecution,” Mrozek said. “I’m sure that each and every person at risk of identity theft as a result of Mr. Rivera’s criminal conduct would agree.”
The law’s future
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was passed in 1984, and Leiderman believes that it is obsolete in many respects. Back then, Congress was concerned about a scenario like in the movie “War Games,” in which a hacker infiltrates Pentagon computers and almost starts World War III. Computer networks were rare, and someone hacking into one was presumed to have bad intentions.
Today, computers are everywhere, and the CFAA can be vague on what constitutes illegal access to one.
Even when access is clearly illegal, Leiderman and other reformers see a problem in the law’s sentencing guidelines.
Slowing down Santa Cruz County’s website carries the same maximum 15-year sentence as an attack that permanently destroys the site of a major corporation or government agency and costs it millions of dollars. In practice, a hacker who doesn’t cause much harm isn’t likely to get a long sentence, but it is possible.
“They’re still facing 15 years, and a judge that gets pissed off can throw them in prison for 15 years if he wants,” Leiderman said.
There are signs that Leiderman’s position on the CFAA is gaining traction. A House subcommittee this month heard testimony on the law. Many lawmakers said they were opposed to any reduction in the scope of computer crimes or the severity of penalties, but others were open to changes.
The current CFAA is the one Leiderman must deal with. His latest case, that of Matthew Keys, will keep Leiderman on the front pages and the airwaves. He was recently interviewed on NPR and the Huffington Post, making the case that Keys was acting as a journalist, not a co-conspirator, in his dealings with Anonymous.
A few days before Keys was arrested, Leiderman sat in his office and said he was looking for “that next great case.”
“I want to make the government stop and think about what they’re doing, and maybe change what they’re doing,” he said.

'Whistleblower Defense League' created to fight back Obama administration's prosecutorial overreach

RT News

Published on Apr 4, 2013
As we've reported before, the Obama administration has reached new heights when it comes to prosecuting whistleblowers. Under Obama's presidency, seven people have been convicted in accordance with the Espionage Act of 1917 for leaking governmental information to the public. All previous administrations combined haven't prosecuted that many whistleblowers. Now, a group of attorneys have come together to form the Whistleblower Defense League to protect such individuals from legal action. One of those attorneys, Jay Leiderman, discusses why they felt it was necessary to create this group.

Click this link to see the video: 

For more information on the Whistleblower Defense League see this post announcing the formation of the #WBDL and this post talking about the first #WBDL case, a challenge to an unconstitutionally issued subpoena in the Barrett Brown case.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013





Washington DC—The U.S. Government is the New China. The WBDL has filed a motion challenging an oppressive, unconstitutional subpoena issued by the “Department of Justice” in the prosecution of journalist Barrett Brown and the investigation into the Project PM Wiki.

“The Department of Justice is abusing its subpoena power to invade lives, threaten freedoms and destroy people for simply exploring the truth about their government,” says Jason Flores-Williams, WBDL lawyer. “Like China, they are trying to control the flow of information on the internet.”

The government served the subpoena on CloudFlare Inc., in an attempt to gain protected, private information about a range of individuals, websites and data. CloudFlare agreed to give the WBDL time to challenge the subpoena in order to protect the rights of its clients.

“The internet is the new frontier for civil rights,” says WBDL attorney Jay Leiderman.* “This entire indictment of Barrett Brown, like Ai Weiwei, is an affront to democracy. We have to stop this government from criminalizing dissent in our society.”

The government subpoena violates First Amendment rights of speech and association, Fourth amendment rights against illegal seizures and the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

“This government needs to be checked,” says WBDL attorney Dennis Roberts.  “These are critical constitutional issues that go to the very heart of our democracy.”

The WBDL is a group of noted criminal defense attorneys and investigators from around the country who seek to lower defense costs via grassroots fundraising and support.

The Motion to Intervene and Quash was filed today in federal court in the Northern District of Texas.

Media contact:
Jason Flores-Williams, WBDL

*Jay Leiderman is not involved in the legal work involving the CloudFlare subpoena.  He has a legal conflict due to his prior representation of Barrett Brown.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Announcing the Whistleblower Defense League




Washington DC— We have entered a dangerous time in America. The FBI and Department of Justice are using harassment and prosecution as a tool to chill and silence journalism, on-line activism and dissent.

“People are being subpoenaed, indicted and incarcerated for simply exploring the truth,” says co-founder Jay Leiderman.

The government has amended the constitution with fear. In response, a nation-wide group of expert criminal defense attorneys have formed the Whistleblower Defense League to defend and encourage those willing to investigate and speak out against the corporate and political forces threatening our democracy.

“We stand with the courage our clients,” says co-founder Dennis Roberts. “We are the legal arm, the firewall, for those who place facts over propaganda.”

Founding members of the WBDL include constitutional lawyer Dennis Roberts, 48-year veteran of the civilrights movement; Jay Leiderman, noted internet rights attorney; and JasonFlores-Williams, writer and attorney.

“The WBDL is a new kind of legal activist group that from the pre-indictment phase through trial will litigate for their clients aggressively, speak out on their behalf, and go to war for them in the court of law and public opinion,” says co-founder JasonFlores-Williams.  

The WBDL is a private group of attorneys that strives to lower defense costs via grassroots funding and support.

Media contact:
Jason Flores-Williams, WBDL Founder