High-profile Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown was found mentally competent to stand trial Wednesday at a federal hearing in Dallas.
Judge Sam A. Lindsay made the ruling after hearing testimony from Brown’s public defender Doug Morris and Brown himself, who is currently in custody and was in the courtroom wearing an orange jumpsuit. Both men answered questions about Brown’s ability to understand the charges against him and agreed he was able to understand the charges and various legal consequences.
Brown was arrested in September 2012 after releasing a series of YouTube videos, including one titled “Why I’m Going To Destroy FBI Agent Robert Smith: Revenge of the Lithe,” where a visibly upset Brown delivered a long rant in which he insulted and appeared to threaten the FBI agent. Brown was arrested in a raid on his Dallas apartment that was partially captured live while his webcam was logged into the popular online video chat service Tinychat. Since then, federal prosecutors have added charges a number of times. As the Dallas Morning News wrote:
Brown was initially arrested and indicted for making an online threat, retaliating against a federal officer and conspiring to release the personal information of a U.S. government employee. Then, in December, the feds piled on a dozen more charges, including identity theft and ‘access device fraud’ following a Christmas Day 2011 hack of Stratfor Global Intelligence Service.
This latest round of indictments dates back to an FBI raid on Brown’s Dallas apartment back on March 6, 2012, when the feds allege that Brown ‘did knowingly conceal’ two laptops ‘with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation’ related to search warrants issued the day before. The indictments claim he was “’aided and abetted by KM,’ which Wired reports is believed to be his mother — based on Brown’s own account of the incident. Brown has said the feds were looking for records dealing with Anonymous’s 2011 hack of HBGary.
Brown pled not guilty in court Wednesday to the two counts of obstruction.
Brown was a longtime spokesman for Anonymous, the controversial “hacktivist’” group. His articulate and quirky conversational style, flamboyant comments, and interesting personal history (he’s been open about being a heroin addict several years ago) made him a media favorite for articles on Anonymous.
Breitbart News attended Brown’s Wednesday hearing, which lasted approximately thirty minutes. Attorney Doug Morris also said that Brown was in a much better mental condition now than he was at the time of his September arrest and credited the Fort Worth Detention Center. Brown told the judge he was currently taking anti-depressants daily, including Zoloft.