PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court reversed the conviction of man imprisoned for illegally gaining access to AT&T's servers and stealing the email addresses of more than 100,000 of iPad users, ruling Friday that prosecutors tried him in the wrong state.
Andrew Auernheimer, who was living in Arkansas at the time, should not have been indicted in New Jersey, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found.
"The improper venue here — far from where he performed any of his allegedly criminal acts — denied Auernheimer's substantial right to be tried in the place where his alleged crime was committed," the court wrote.
Auernhemier, 28, is serving a 41-month sentence for identity theft and conspiracy. His attorney, Tor Ekeland, said Friday that he's working to get his client released immediately from the federal prison in Allenwood, Pa.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, N.J., said prosecutors are reviewing their options.
Auernheimer was living in Fayetteville, Ark., in 2010 when he worked with others to trick AT&T's website into divulging the email addresses, including those of then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who is now Chicago's mayor.
The group shared the addresses with the website Gawker, which published them in redacted form along with a news article about the breach.