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| Crime |

Barrett Brown's Mother Pleaded Guilty Last Week to Helping Her Son Hide Laptops from the FBI

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Barrett Brown's current stint in federal prison can be linked, in a way, to his mother. It was the FBI's treatment of her that prompted the YouTube rant and Twitter tirade in which Brown threatened a special agent and his family, which in turn led to the heavily armed raid on Brown's apartment and his arrest and indictment last year. Brown had been targeted by the feds for a while over Anonymous' hack of security firm Stratfor (e.g. sharing a link), but the initial arrest and indictment are directly traceable to his mom who, we learn today, could soon join her son in federal lockup.

Brown's mother, Karen McCutchin, pleaded guilty last week to a charge of obstructing the execution of a search warrant.

The charge stems from a March 6 FBI raid on McCutchin's home that Brown has referenced repeatedly in his writings. The feds hadn't found all the computers they were looking for during a search of Brown's apartment that morning and Brown, located at his mother's house, refused to volunteer them. Agents returned with a search warrant several hours later but, McCutchin admits, she and Brown had hid them in the meantime.

The charges against McCutchin are hardly unexpected. It was threat of prosecution against his mother that seemed to really set Brown off, and her role in obstructing the FBI (she was referred to as "KM") was alluded to in Brown's indictment for concealing evidence.

McCutchin is not, like her son, facing 100-plus years in prison. Under the deal she struck with the feds, she faces a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and a $100,000 fine. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

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