Privacy point of email case

DETROIT – A Michigan prosecutor defended her decision yesterday to file charges against a man accused of hacking into his estranged wife’s email after suspecting she was having an affair, saying the case is about invasion of privacy.

Oakland County prosecutor Jessica Cooper said charging Leon Walker with criminal computer misuse was appropriate because he broke state law.

Walker, an information technology worker from suburban Detroit, has said he accessed the account only because he suspected infidelity, and critics say Cooper has better things to do than get involved in marital strife.

“I couldn’t care less who is messing with whom. This case is about hacking,” Cooper said. “Somebody has violated a statute. My job is to enforce the statute. The hacking laws are there for a reason. You have to have … privacy.”

Judges have twice denied requests to dismiss the charges, she said.

Walker, 33, is fighting the charge, which carries up to five years in prison, and his trial is scheduled to begin on February 11.

Walker’s now ex-wife, Clara, realised her computer had been hacked when personal emails showed up in child custody pleadings involving her first husband.

The Walkers were going through a contentious divorce at the time. They have a 3-year-old daughter. Leon Walker, her third husband, has said he suspected his wife was having an affair with her second husband.

“My email password was a secret and not kept around the house for anybody to find,” Clara Walker wrote in an email yesterday. “When I learned that he was sneaking around and invading my privacy, I felt violated. Anybody in my position would go to the police. Obviously he was fishing in my emails for something to use against me in court.”

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