Atlanta Judge Pleads Not Guilty to Improper Access of County Network
Superior Court judge Kathryn Schrader has pleaded not guilty to improperly accessing, altering, and removing data from the computer network of Gwinnett County, Georgia, located just northeast of Atlanta.
The judge was indicted on September 18, along with convicted child molester and co-founder of Atlanta sci-fi convention DragonCon, Ed Kramer; private investigator T.J. Ward; and Frank Karic.
The defendants are each charged with three counts of felony computer trespass, to which they all pleaded not guilty at their arraignment last Thursday. If convicted of all the charges against them, the defendants could each face a maximum of 45 years behind bars.
According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, Schrader hired private detective Ward to monitor her work computer when she became suspicious that it had been hacked by district attorney Danny Porter.
It is alleged that Schrader gave Ward improper access to the network. Ward then brought in Karic, who was given improper access so he could install a WireShark monitoring device on Schrader's computer to discover if it had indeed been tampered with.
Ward then hired former computer forensic analyst Kramer, who was also given improper access so that he could keep tabs on Schrader's computer once the installation was complete.
According to newspaper the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Danny Porter has vehemently denied the allegation that he hacked Schrader's computer.
The details of the alleged offence came to light during a search of Kramer's home computer by police in relation to allegations that he had photographed a young child at a Lawrenceville, Georgia, doctor's office. Police reportedly found a folder labeled with Schrader's name on Kramer's computer.
Since searching Kramer's computer, police have charged him with possession of child pornography.
The indictment states that between February 7 and 26, all four defendants "did knowingly use a computer network without authority and with the intent to remove network traffic, data from the computer network of Gwinnett County, contrary to the laws of said state, the good order, peace and dignity thereof."
Schrader has been a judge on Gwinnett's highest court since 2012, but since April, while the investigation into her alleged criminal activities has been ongoing, Porter has sidelined Schrader from hearing any criminal cases prosecuted by his office.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched the investigation into Schrader and the three men accused along with her; however, the case has now been handed over to the Prosecuting Attorney's Council of Georgia, which is prosecuting the case.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for November 7.
Source: Information Security Magazine