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Barrett Brown, an award-winning journalist who was sentenced in January 2015 to more than five years in federal prison, has been released from federal prison in Texas. At the time of his sentencing, he had already served 28 months and had 34 months remaining. Brown was released early on good behavior.
On Tuesday, the first thing he did post-release was enjoy this Egg McMuffin from a local McDonald’s.
As Ars reported previously, in April 2014 Brown took a plea deal admitting guilt on three charges: “transmitting a threat in interstate commerce,” interfering with the execution of a search warrant, and being “accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer.”
Brown originally was indicted in Texas federal court in December 2012 on several counts, including accusations that he posted a link from one Internet relay chat channel, called #Anonops, to another channel under his control, called #ProjectPM. The link led to private data that had been hijacked from intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor.
Over time, authorities dropped most of the charges, which included identity theft and possession of stolen credit card numbers. The hyperlinking charge was also dismissed, setting aside a high-profile constitutional battle over posting links.
While behind bars, Brown wrote for The Intercept. His most recent column, dated October 16, was entitled “I Am Fully Capable of Entertaining Myself in Prison for Decades If Need Be,” and it described his efforts to organize tabletop gaming with fellow inmates. Brown won a National Magazine Award for commentary in 2016.
At sentencing, the 35-year-old Texan was ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution to Stratfor. According to the Daily Dot, Brown will continue making $200 monthly payments to Stratfor.