Attorney Jason Flores-Williams said that his Whistleblower Defense League will seek to dissuade federal attorneys from indicting Deric Lostutter, 26, of Winchester, Ky.
Flores-Williams said his client, who is being represented pro bono by the attorney’s organization, is being targeted for speaking out about the infamous rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, where football players were accused of raping a drunken girl.
He said the April raid on Lostutter’s home by heavily armed agents in riot gear was “absolutely insane” and speaks to the fear the government has over those who use the Internet for activism.
“They sent an armed squadron into his home to seize all of his property,” Flores-Williams said.
The attorney said the Whistleblower Defense League, which he founded about three months ago, is a group of 25 criminal defense attorneys from across the country who volunteer their time to defend, he says, “anyone who speaks for open democracy.” Flores-Williams said his group is especially concerned with protecting whistle-blowers, journalists, bloggers and similar-minded people from legal threats from the U.S. government.
“(These people) are willing to put their lives on the line to maintain a democracy,” Flores-Williams said.
The organization raises money to cover its expenses through donations linked through its website, WhistleBlowerDefenseLeague.com. Lostutter’s defense fund has raised $44,629 as of Thursday. The money pays for attorneys’ travel fees, fees for expert witnesses, document transcription costs and, potentially, security for the legal team.
Lostutter identifies himself on his website as KYAnonymous, a member of the KnightSec group within the Anonymous hacker-activist collective. Lostutter states his home was raided by M16-wielding FBI agents who were investigating any link he could have to the hacking of RollRedRoll.com.
That website, according to the New York Times, is a fan page for the Steubenville High School Big Red football team in Ohio. Steubenville made national headlines last year after a 16-year-old girl was raped at parties following a football scrimmage in August. Two players from that team, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, were found guilty of raping the girl and were sentenced to time in juvenile detention facilities.
A copy of the federal warrant served on Lostutter’s home states agents were seeking, among other things, records or information relating to a conspiracy to hack the website and the email of the site’s administrator.
FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren had nothing to say regarding the investigation and he would not respond to Lostutter’s allegations that the FBI used assault weapons to serve a warrant on someone being investigated for a computer crime.
“I’m not aware of the incident you’re speaking of directly,” Lindgren said. “I have no knowledge of it.”
Flores-Williams said the FBI could have just called his client and he accused the government of sending the SWAT team to serve the warrant in an effort to intimidate whistle-blowers.
Flores-Williams described his client as a regular guy who’s into computers and DJ-ing.
“He’s a total Santa Fe dude,” Flores-Williams said.