[ISN] Mitnick hacking trial delayed three months

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Dec 04 1998 - 18:22:44 PST

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    From: Nelson Murilo <nelsonat_private>
    Mitnick hacking trial delayed three months
    By Douglas Thomas
    LOS ANGELES (Wired) - A US District Court judge approved a three-month
    trial delay in the case of accused computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. The
    trial, originally set to begin 19 January, has been pushed back to 20
    Mitnick, in custody since 1995, is facing a 25-count federal indictment
    for allegedly copying proprietary software from the computers of cellular
    telephone manufacturers. 
    Mitnick's defense requested more time based on the government's failure to
    comply with a discovery order issued by the court in June.  In that order,
    the government was told to turn over witness statements and to provide
    copies of the 10 gigabytes of electronic evidence that is to be used
    against Mitnick in trial. 
    In a motion filed last week, the defense argued that the government's
    failure to produce relevant evidence made it impossible to prepare
    Mitnick's defense. Assistant US Attorney David Schindler agreed to the
    continuance without argument. 
    US District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer expressed her disapproval with
    the request for a delay. ``The court wants to go to trial,'' she told
    Mitnick and his attorney, echoing her previous statement that she was
    ``very, very anxious try this case.''
    Pfaelzer indicated further disapproval with the defense filing, directing
    her comments specifically at Don Randolph, Mitnick's attorney. 
    ``I don't like the way you write at all, Mr. Randolph,'' Pfaelzer said,
    referring to his reply to the prosecution's latest filing. 
    Several other issues regarding evidence and discovery appear to have been
    negotiated by opposing counsels, including the government's production of
    an exhibit list and the remainder of discovery, which centers on providing
    Mitnick with access to the electronic evidence for review. 
    After delays of nearly six months, Mitnick was recently issued a laptop
    computer to review the evidence against him in electronic form.  The
    computer is the first that he has been allowed to touch in the nearly four
    years he has been in custody. 
    His computer time will be restricted to business hours at the detention
    center, and will be closely supervised. He will not have access to the
    encrypted files that the government has reportedly not been able to
    The 1,400 page collection of witness statements, presented to the defense
    last week was ``only surprising in terms of its lack of surprises,''
    according to Randolph. 
    There was one glaring omission, however: Tsutomu Shimomura, the computer
    expert who played a central role in exposing Mitnick, apparently will not
    be a part of the government's case. 
    Shimomura, along with New York Times writer John Markoff, popularized the
    story of Mitnick's case in their 1996 book ''Takedown.'' The book is now
    in production as a Miramax film. 
    Schindler downplayed Shimomura's absence, saying ``our case is independent
    of the public perceptions or misperceptions.'' This suggests that the
    prosecution intends to focus instead on the statements of the ``victims
    alleged in the indictment.''
    According to Randolph, Pfaelzer's rulings Thursday were a victory for the
    ``We got everything we asked for,'' Randolph said, including the trial
    continuance, the electronic discovery, an agreement about supervision, and
    a commitment from government attorneys to produce their exhibit list
    within a week. 
    Randolph added that there was a ``certain amount of irony'' to the way
    this case has proceeded, noting that the court is often ``critical of
    defense requests'' while always seeming to grant them. 
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