A Congressional aide working for Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, of Texas, is charged with releasing the personal information, or “doxing” multiple United States Senators.
The information, including home addresses and phone numbers, was published on Wikipedia on Thursday.
Jackson Cosko, the intern charged with these crimes, was arrested by Capitol Police after a witness said that they saw Cosko on Tuesday at a computer in a senator’s office, where he used to work, a day after two other unnamed senators’ information had been put on Wikipedia.
Along with Lee, Cosko is also said to have worked for Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Maggie Hassan, of New Hampshire, and former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.
While it’s unclear how Cosko is interning for multiple senators simultaneously, Fox News reported that Cosko’s attorney said that he was working as a fellow in Lee’s office but is paid by an outside institution.
A source familiar with the case told Fox News that Cosko was caught in Sen. Hassan’s office after he was relieved of his position there, using a login that he was not authorized to use,
However, a spokesperson for Hassan says she “strongly denounces the alleged actions.”
Capitol Police Captain Jason Bell said in a statement that the staffer who caught Cosko in Hassan’s office was confronted by Cosko, but still called the police.
That witness later received an email from “email@example.com” saying: “If you tell anyone I will leak it all. Emails signal conversations gmails. Senators children’s health information and socials,” according to Fox News.
Cosko’s attorney, Brian Stolarz, told Fox News that his client acted alone.
“We all need to take a deep breath,” said Stolarz. “In this political climate, everyone wants to jump to conclusions. We need to put the conspiracy theories aside and focus on the allegations. Jackson Cosko is innocent until proven guilty, and we intend to challenge the charges.”
According to a news release by Capitol Police, Cosko is charged with: making public restricted personal information, witness tampering, threats in interstate communications, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, second-degree burglary, and unlawful entry.
Fox reported that five senators were doxed in all, and Capitol Police are investigating two more possible instances, one of which includes Republican Senator Rand Paul.
While no motive was given for the attacks on the senators, all of those currently affected have been vocal supporters of Republican-backed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The seven charges against him carry the possibility of more than 20 years in prison.
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