Texas Judge Recuses Self After Threats from Hacker Group 'Anonymous'
The notorious and loosely confederated hacker collective Anonymous appears to have threatened 70th District Judge Denn Whalen from Ector County, Texas, in a new YouTube video posted in March. Judge Whalen recently announced his recusal from a docket matter seemingly related to the Anonymous threat in question, according to local reports.
The video, called "Anonymous Message To Caleb Leverett," focused on a custody battle in which Whalen ruled that 15-year-old Parker Leverett had to leave his father, and move to the home of his mother and stepfather. Prior to the judge's ruling, Parker lived with his father, Caleb Leverett, for almost three months in Odessa, Texas. Leverett is an outspoken libertarian, known for protesting "statism" in YouTube videos. Parker's mother and stepfather had recently moved to San Antonio, but the boy did not want to move with them, according to the crowd-sourcing site Indiegogo.
When asked about the threats made in the video, Whalen said he had to remove himself from the Leverett case due to safety concerns. He told the Odessa American, "I voluntarily recused myself because of the threat to me and my family." A new judge was subsequently assigned to the case.
Caleb Leverett is currently being held at the Ector County Detention Center for refusing to turn Parker over to his mother last August, according to the Odessa American.
An unknown individual wearing a Guy Fawkes mask declared in the video, "For the judge: We will begin cyber-attacks to you and your family. You cannot run from this."
Turning attention to Parker's mother and stepfather, the speaker in the video said, "We also know who you are. We know your husband also. We will begin cyber-attacks to your bank accounts, credit cards, computer and phone bill."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Austin Berry said to the local media outlet, "There are potential federal charges for this type of threat."
Anonymous has maintained a noticeable presence in Texas. In September 2013, Fidel Salinas, a 27-year-old hacker affiliated with the group, attempted to compromise a county website. The Daily Dot reported that Fidel was arrested by the FBI after trying to "access a protected computer without authorization, and as a result of such conduct, recklessly causing damage."
A spokeswoman from Judge Whalen's office told Breitbart Texas, "The judge has reported the video to the proper authorities. He will not comment further on the matter at this time."
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