A man convicted of illegally gaining access to AT&T’s servers and stealing more than 100,000 email addresses of iPad users has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Andrew Auernheimer, 27, was sentenced today in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, where he was convicted Nov. 20 of conspiring to gain unauthorized access to AT&T servers and disclosing private data to a reporter for the website Gawker. Auernheimer, who helped run a group called Goatse Security, was handcuffed and shackled during the hearing, provoking gasps from supporters.

Former Arkansas resident Andrew Auernheimer was convicted in November of identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers. Auernheimer’s attorney had sought probation.

Auernheimer castigated the government for an unfair prosecution before a federal judge pronounced his 41-month sentence Monday. A second defendant has pleaded guilty.

“I didn’t come here today to ask for forgiveness,” Auernheimer told U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton. “The Internet is bigger than any law can contain. Many, many governments that have attempted to restrict the freedoms of the Internet have ended up toppled.”

After Auernheimer spoke, prosecutor Michael Martinez addressed the judge.

“He blames others,” Martinez said. “Instead of accepting personal responsibility for his own conduct, he blames AT&T.”

The law draws “a bright line” in the case, Martinez said.

“When someone has gained access without a user’s permission, that’s a clear trespass,” he said. “He says that the reason we’re here is because we don’t like his ideas. The reason that we’re here is that he wrote a code and engaged in a clear trespass.”

As Martinez spoke, a U.S. marshal approached Auernheimer from behind and told him to put away a phone. Other marshals handcuffed him.

Wigenton declared a recess, and the marshals escorted Auernheimer to a side room. When he returned a few minutes later, he was shackled, with a chain around his waist and handcuffs attached to the chain.

He grinned at supporters. Several raised fists in support.
“While you consider yourself to be a hero of sorts, without question the evidence that came out at trial reflected criminal conduct,” the judge said in imposing the sentence. “You’ve shown absolutely no remorse. You’ve taken no responsibility for these criminal acts whatsoever. You’ve shown no contrition whatsoever.”

The defense requested probation.

Auernheimer was part of a loose association of hackers and so-called Internet trolls who make computer intrusions and attacks, prosecutors said.

In June 2010, Auernheimer created computer code that lied to computer servers and allowed him to steal personal identifying information of iPad users. After the breach, Auernheimer gave interviews touting his actions.

“The evidence at trial — including e-mails, Internet chats, and websites that captured the defendant’s words while he was committing this crime — proved” Auernheimer knew he was stealing, prosecutors said in court papers. He disclosed private data to generate publicity for himself and firm, the U.S. said.

Auernheimer, who denied wrongdoing, claimed that he sought to protect the public from corporate security vulnerabilities.
At the trial, Daniel Spitler, a co-defendant who pleaded guilty, testified against Auernheimer.

(The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report)