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Judge: Prosecutors filed weak charges to keep hacker jailed

Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the immediate release of a computer hacker who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping the Islamic State. In doing so, she accused the Justice Department of trumping up charges against him to keep him imprisoned. A written order earlier this month from U.S. Judge Leonie Brinkema includes a harsh rebuke of the Justice Department’s conduct against Ardit Ferizi. The native of Kosovo is the first person convicted in the U.S. of both computer hacking and terrorism charges. In 2016, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years. In 2020, though, Judge Brinkema granted him compassionate release under the coronavirus pandemic. Brinkema accuses the Justice Department of filing new, trumped-up charges against Ferizi to circumvent her order.

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