Sun, 20 Sep 2020

A bail hearing by Zoom for the 17-year-old who hacked some of the world's highest-profile Twitter accounts last month was interrupted by participants showing porn.

Graham Ivan Clark's lawyers were asking a Florida court to lower their client's bail, saying the $725 000 he's required to post to get out of jail is disproportionate to the alleged amount of the loss in the case, when the raunchy images were broadcast into the hearing.

Prosecutors at Wednesday's court session also revealed that Clark's premises had been raided last summer, almost a year before the massive Twitter hack, in a separate cryptocurrency investigation.

Clark was arrested last week and charged with hacking into the accounts of notable businesspeople, celebrities and politicians, including former president Barack Obama, Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, and posting messages soliciting Bitcoin donations.

He remains in jail on the $725 000 bond.

Lawyers for Clark told Judge Christopher Nash in Tampa on Wednesday that the bail is much higher than the $117 000 Clark is alleged to have received through the hack. Attorney David Weisbrod also argued that his client shouldn't have to prove the source of any funds he posts for bail, revealing that authorities served a search warrant on Clark's residence last August as part of the separate investigation and seized funds in a cryptocurrency trading platform.

Clark later agreed to forfeit 100 Bitcoins - about $1.2 million based on today's Bitcoin price of about $11 600 - from that account as part of an agreement with authorities in Florida and California under which he wasn't prosecuted and admitted no wrongdoing, Weisbrod said.

Prosecutor Darrell Dirks urged the judge to keep Clark in jail, saying authorities are still investigating the extent of the hack and that the loss may be greater than $117 000. The judge hadn't ruled on the bail request when he was forced to cancel the hearing because of the porn bombs.

"The defendant's conduct regarding the stealing of the identities of famous people and his attempt to hijack the funds of innocent individuals in less than four hours, that occurred 20 days ago," Dirks said. "We are still discovering the breadth and depth of the defendant's criminal conduct."

In the end, the judge kept the bond as it is but granted the request to remove the condition that Clark prove the source of his funds, Weisbrod said after the hearing.

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