TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: kevnfree.txt

Kevin Mitnick's statement upon release, Jan.21/2000

Kevin Mitnick's statement upon release, January 21, 2000.

Good morning.

Thank you all for taking the time to come out to Lompoc today, my first
day of freedom in nearly five years. I have a brief statement to read,
and I ask that you permit me to read my statement without interruption.

First, I'd like to thank the millions of people who have visited the
website kevinmitnick.com during my incarceration, and who took the time
to show their support for me during the past five years. I relied on
their support during the five years I've been incarcerated more than
they will ever realize, and I want to thank them all from the bottom of
my heart.

As many of you know, I've maintained virtually complete silence during
my incarceration -- I've refused dozens of requests for interviews from
news organizations from around the world, and for very real reasons --
my actions and my life have been manipulated and grossly misrepresented
by the media since I was 17, when the Los Angeles Times first violated
the custom, if not the law, that prohibits publication of the names of
juveniles accused of crimes.

The issues involved in my case are far from over, and will continue to
affect everyone in this society as the power of the media to define the
"villain of the month" continues to increase.

You see, my case is about the power of the media to define the playing
field, as well as the tilt of that playing field -- it's about the power
of the media to define the boundaries of "acceptable discussion" on any
particular issue or story.

My case is about the extraordinary breach of journalistic ethics as
demonstrated by one man, John Markoff, who is a reporter for one of the
most powerful media organizations in the world, the New York Times.

My case is about the extraordinary actions of Assistant U.S. Attorneys
David Schindler and Christopher Painter to obstruct my ability to defend
myself at every turn.

And, most importantly, my case is about the extraordinary favoritism and
deference shown by the federal courts toward federal prosecutors who
were determined to win at any cost, and who went as far as holding me in
solitary confinement to coerce me into waiving my fundamental
Constitutional rights. If we can't depend on the courts to hold
prosecutors in check, then whom can we depend on?

I've never met Mr. Markoff, and yet Mr. Markoff has literally become a
millionaire by virtue of his libelous and defamatory reporting -- and I
use the word "reporting" in quotes -- Mr. Markoff has become a
millionaire by virtue of his libelous and defamatory reporting about me
in the New York Times and in his 1991 book "Cyberpunk."

On July 4th, 1994, an article written by Mr. Markoff was published on
the front page of the New York Times, above the fold. Included in that
article were as many as 60 -- sixty! -- unsourced allegations about me
that were stated as fact, and that even a minimal process of
fact-checking would have revealed as being untrue or unproven.

In that single libelous and defamatory article, Mr. Markoff labeled me,
without justification, reason, or supporting evidence, as "cyberspace's
most wanted," and as "one of the nation's most wanted computer

In that defamatory article, Mr. Markoff falsely claimed that I had
wiretapped the FBI -- I hadn't -- that I had broken into the computers
at NORAD -- which aren't even connected to any network on the outside --
and that I was a computer "vandal," despite the fact that I never
damaged any computer I've ever accessed. Mr. Markoff even claimed that I
was the "inspiration" for the movie "War Games," when a simple call to
the screenwriter of that movie would have revealed that he had never
heard of me when he wrote his script.

In yet another breach of journalistic ethics, Mr. Markoff failed to
disclose in that article -- and in all of his following articles about
me -- that we had a pre-existing relationship, by virtue of Mr.
Markoff's authorship of the book "Cyberpunk." Mr. Markoff also failed to
disclose in any of his articles about this case his pre-existing
relationship with Tsutomu Shimomura, by virtue of his personal
friendship with Mr. Shimomura for years prior to the July 4, 1994
article Mr. Markoff wrote about me.

Last but certainly not least, Mr. Markoff and Mr. Shimomura both
participated as de facto government agents in my arrest, in violation of
both federal law and jounalistic ethics. They were both present when
three blank warrants were used in an illegal search of my residence and
my arrest, and yet neither of them spoke out against the illegal search
and illegal arrest.

Despite Mr. Markoff's outrageous and libelous descriptions of me, my
crimes were simple crimes of trespass. I've acknowledged since my arrest
in February 1995 that the actions I took were illegal, and that I
committed invasions of privacy -- I even offered to plead guilty to my
crimes soon after my arrest. But to suggest without reason or proof, as
did Mr. Markoff and the prosecutors in this case, that I had committed
any type of fraud whatsoever, is simply untrue, and unsupported by the

My case is a case of curiosity -- I wanted to know as much as I could
find out about how phone networks worked, and the "ins" and "outs" of
computer security. There is NO evidence in this case whatsoever, and
certainly no intent on my part at any time, to defraud anyone of

Despite the absence of any intent or evidence of any scheme to defraud,
prosecutors Schindler and Painter refused to seek a reasonable plea
agreement -- indeed, their first "offer" to me included the requirement
that I stipulate to a fraud of $80 million dollars, and that I agree
never to disclose or reveal the names of the companies involved in the

Have you ever heard of a fraud case where the prosecutors attempted to
coverup the existence of the fraud? I haven't. But that was their method
throughout this case -- to manipulate the amount of the loss in this
case, to exaggerate the alleged harm, to cover up information about the
companies involved, and to solicit the companies involved in this case
to provide falsified "damages" consistent with the false reputation
created by Mr. Markoff's libelous and defamatory articles about me in
the New York Times.

Prosecutors David Schindler and Christopher Painter manipulated every
aspect of this case, from my personal reputation to the ability of my
defense attorney to file motions on time, and even to the extent of
filing a 1700 item exhibit list immediately before trial. It was the
prosecutors' intent in this case to obstruct justice at every turn, to
use the unlimited resources of the government and the media to crush a
defendant who literally had no assets with which to mount a defense.

The fact of the matter is that I never deprived the companies involved
in this case of anything. I never committed fraud against these
companies. And there is not a single piece of evidence suggesting that I
did so. If there was any evidence of fraud, do you really think the
prosecutors in this case would have offered me a plea bargain? Of course

But prosecutors Schindler and Painter would never have been able to
violate my Constitutional rights without the cooperation of the United
States federal court system. As far as we know, I am the only defendant
in United States' history to ever be denied a bail hearing. Recently,
Mr. Painter claimed that such a hearing would have been "moot," because,
in his opinion, the judge in this case would not have granted bail.

Does that mean that the judge in this case was biased against me, and
had her mind made up before hearing relevant testimony? Or does that
mean that Mr. Painter believes it is his right to determine which
Constitutional rights defendants will be permitted to have, and which
rights they will be denied?

The judge in this case consistently refused to hold the prosecutors to
any sort of prosecutorial standard whatsoever, and routinely refused to
order the prosecutors to provide copies of the evidence against me for
nearly four years. For those of you who are new to this case, I was held
in pre-trial detention, without a bail hearing and without bail, for
four years. During those four years, I was never permitted to see the
evidence against me, because the prosecutors obstructed our efforts to
obtain discovery, and the judge in this case refused to order them to
produce the evidence against me for that entire time. I was repeatedly
coereced into waiving my right to a speedy trial because my attorney
could not prepare for trial without being able to review the evidence
against me.

Please forgive me for taking up so much of your time. The issues in this
case are far more important than me, they are far more important than an
unethical reporter for the New York Times, they're far more important
than the unethical prosecutors in this case, and they are more important
than the judge who refused to guarantee my Constitutional rights.

The issues in this case concern our Constitutional rights, the right of
each and every one of us to be protected from an assault by the media,
and to be protected from prosecutors who believe in winning at any cost,
including the cost of violating a defendant's fundamental Constitutional

What was done to me can be done to each and every one of you.

In closing, let me remind you that the United States imprisons more
people than any other country on earth.

Again, thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to come to
Lompoc this morning, and thank you all for your interest and your

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