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Criminal Justice

Lawyer Arranges Mayoral Visit with Jailed Engineer, Gets Computers Working

Posted Jul 23, 2008 10:25 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The defense lawyer for the San Francisco computer engineer accused of shutting down the city’s computer system put together a secret meeting between her jailed client and Mayor Gavin Newsom.

At the meeting yesterday afternoon, jailed network administrator Terry Childs passed along the access codes to the computer network that he had previously refused to reveal, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Childs was jailed after being accused of forcing the shutdown of computers that handle 60 percent of the city's information, including law enforcement records.

The meeting was arranged by Childs’ lawyer, Erin Crane. She is likely to cite his cooperation in a motion to reduce his $5 million bail, the newspaper says.

Crane’s bail motion claims incompetent city officials were meddling with and jeopardizing the computer network that Childs had built. The motion says Childs had discovered the network was at risk of being infected with a computer virus introduced by a colleague.

"Mr. Childs had good reason to be protective of the password," the motion said. "His co-workers and supervisors had in the past maliciously damaged the system themselves, hindered his ability to maintain it ... and shown complete indifference to maintaining it themselves.”

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