LulzSec Leader Dismissed On Impersonation Charges
Hector Xavier Monsegur-also known as Sabu-was absent for his Manhattan criminal court case on Thursday, after his lawyer Peggy Cross-Goldenberg said he couldn´t attend due to concerns for his personal safety, making references to “security concerns and physical threats”
The Manhattan criminal court judge waived his arraignment on Thursday and agreed to dismiss the impersonation charges, providing Monsegur is able to stay out of trouble for 6 months.
Monsegur-Sabu is an out-of-work computer programmer, made famous for his “hacktivism” and ambiguous identity and motives.
Monsegur-Sabu was arrested on an impersonation charge in February, thus his criminal court hearing on Thursday.
In a case containing every element of a popular Hollywood thriller, Monsegur admitted to being the head of the international hacking group known as “LulzSec,” which later merged with other hacking gang Anonymous.
LulzSec garnered international attention by attacking large corporations such as Fox News, the American Public Broadcast System, and Sony. LulzSec is most famous for shutting down the CIA´s public website last year. As a part of Anonymous, this group of underground hackers managed to perturb the FBI and CIA as they openly encouraged their band of hackers to “open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path.”
Monsegur was arrested last year, pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit hacking in August. Though he has yet to be sentenced, he faces two years in jail for this charge.
The FBI offered him leniency and agreed not to prosecute him for previous crimes (such as handgun possession and attempted sale of marijuana) if he agreed to help them locate other members of his hacker clan.
Monsegur’s assistance to the FBI made headlines in March, as 5 leaders of LulzSec were arrested in England, Ireland, and the US.
This news had yet to break in February, when Monsegur was arrested once again for telling a police officer he was an “Undercover FBI agent.”
According to Fox News, Monsegur said, “My name is Boo. They call me Boo. Relax. I am a federal agent. I am an agent of the federal government,” when a police officer asked him to present his ID outside of his Lower East Side housing complex on February 3, 2012. When the officer checked with the FBI to corroborate Monsegur´s claims, FBI Special Agent Milan Patel said he was not a federal agent, nor an agent of the federal government.
Monsegur is known by his neighbors at his Manhattan public housing complex as a 28 year old man who is raising his two young nieces after his aunt was arrested on drug charges. He was able to form his hacktivist collective under the name “Sabu,” and began to disrupt government and corporate websites.
The FBI arrested Monsegur-turned-Sabu last June after he made a mistake by posting something online without first masking the identity of his computer. Following his arrest, Monsegur-Sabu quickly began aiding the FBI in helping them locate his colleagues. His and his colleagues´ federal cases remain open.