‘You Won’: US Journalist Barrett Brown Freed Following Re-arrest

United States (Sputnik) – After four days of being held without reason at a federal detention facility in Seagoville, Texas, journalist Barrett Brown has returned home.

“I got to go back to Seagoville and see some of my old buddies,” Brown told D Magazine. “They came in and told me, ‘You won. Get your stuff ready,'” he said of his Monday release.

Formerly an “agitator” with hacktivist group Anonymous, Brown received a 63-month sentence in January 2015, after initially facing more than 100 years locked up.

Brown pleaded guilty to charges of threatening an FBI agent and obstruction of justice. At one point, the journalist faced 17 charges including hyperlinking to a document with stolen credit card information. Since his release in November, he lived at a halfway house before going into home confinement.

Brown was again detained on April 27, for failing to get BOP permission to speak to media outlets, something he said he was never told he needed to do. Brown was supposed to do an interview on the set with PBS the next day, and previously spoke with Vice News the week before.

On Sunday, Brown said that after 72 hours “in the hole,” he had not been given written proof detailing that he had committed an infraction of his parole terms. An infraction sheet is supposed to be provided within 24 hours, indicating a gross violation of due process.

In a statement on Sunday, Brown said D Magazine “has been kind enough to enlist the services of David Siegal of the Haynes and Boone law firm.” One day later, a D Magazine article reported that “major credit for freeing Barrett goes to David M. Siegal.”

“The treatment of Barrett Brown by the Bureau of Prisons was unjustified and in violation of his First Amendment Speech Rights,” Siegal said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Barrett was forced to spend three days in a federal penitentiary when he should have been out living his life. We are happy we were able to work with Barrett and his family to achieve his return home today.”


By Free Barrett Brown – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Following his release from prison November 29 of last year, Brown gave his first exclusive interview to Eugene Puryear, host of By Any Means Necessary on Radio Sputnik.

According to Siegal, Brown has still not received an explanation as to why he was re-arrested. An inquiry sent to the BOP on Sunday by Sputnik asking to confirm or deny whether Brown had received an infraction sheet shed no further light on the situation: it has gone unanswered.

The BOP told Brown “out of the blue,” attorney Jay Leiderman explained to Sputnik, that he needed prior authorization before doing media interviews.

In a recorded conversation between Brown and the BOP, Brown asks the BOP to show where in their policy manual it states that Brown must get permission to do interviews.

After a week of calling BOP “regional chieftain” Luz Lujan, Brown received nothing stating he had to get forms filled out to do interviews. In fact, the BOP Program Statement on media was updated in 2000 and indicates the “Contact with News Media” directive was rescinded.

This report prepared by Grant Ferowich for Sputnik