January 5, 2004 4:50 PM PST

'Homeless hacker' says he'll accept plea bargain

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Adrian Lamo, the so-called homeless hacker accused of breaking into The New York Times' computer network, is planning to appear in court Thursday to accept a plea bargain.

Lamo, who is facing a pair of federal felony charges for allegedly breaking into The Times' network and running up the bill on a subscriber-only news-archiving service, surrendered to the FBI in September and is out on bail.

In a telephone interview Monday, Lamo said the plea bargain could include a sentence of six months of home detention. Under federal guidelines, a judge has significant discretion in sentencing a defendant, and the plea agreement does not include a specific recommendation.

"The alternative would essentially destroy my family," Lamo said, adding that, "I've always said that for every action I've ever taken, I'm willing to own up to the consequences."

Lamo's court-appointed public defender, Sean Hecker, confirmed that a court hearing for a plea bargain was scheduled for Thursday but would not provide details about the proposed agreement. The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. EST before U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in New York, Hecker said.

Lamo is known for his homeless-hacker lifestyle. Before the courts ordered him to return to the Sacramento, Calif., area to live with his parents, Lamo had no fixed address and instead wandered around the United States on Greyhound buses, sleeping on friends' couches and, when necessary, staying in vacant or derelict buildings.


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