Lori Drew Found Not Guilty of Felonies in MySpace Trial

Lori Drew, the 49 year-old Missouri woman who was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after violating MySpace’s terms of service, was found not guilty today of felony computer hacking charges. She was, however, found guilty of three misdemeanor charges, which could mean up to a year in prison. In 2006, Drew, along with now 20 year-old Ashley Grills, created a fake MySpace account, posing as the fictional 16-year old Josh Evans. “Josh” pursued 13 year-old Megan Meier, who had a falling-out with Drew’s daughter, only to dump her (the pair never met in person). Josh’s final words to Meier were, “The world would be a better place without you.” Meier then hung herself in her closet, and died the next day. This spring, Drew was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law that, up until this case, had been reserved for hackers. She was also charged with one count of felony conspiracy. Although there are no cyberbullying laws in Missouri, the prosecution argued that she violated this federal law because she violated MySpace’s terms of service, which, among other things, requires users to provide truthful information and forbids them from harassing other users and soliciting information from users under 18). During the three-day trial, Grills, who testified for the prosecution under the condition of immunity, revealed that the MySpace hoax was her idea, and that she sent the above message, which apparently pushed Meier over the edge. After a day of deliberation, the six-man, six-woman jury found Drew not guilty of any felony charges, including the three hacking ones. However, they did find her guilty of three misdemeanors– gaining unauthorized access to MySpace for collecting information about and harassing Meier– which could carry up to a year in prison (some spectators are predicting she’ll just receive probation). Drew was also cleared of conspiracy to intentionally inflict emotional distress on Meier. Now, U.S District Judge George Wu, who oversaw the case, will consider a motion from the defense to dismiss this misdemeanor charge. We’ll report on his decision when he makes it.

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  1. christen Says:

    I disagree with what happen in court my heart went out to her when she killed herself. I was in the same boat where I wanted to die cause some one was poseing someone that they were not they should have been charged with murder cause they knew what they were doing plus they knew what would happen and how far they pushed her.

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