Timothy Burke arrested & indicted for alleged leaking of Tucker Carlson clips - Hindustan Times
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Timothy Burke indicted for alleged leaking of controversial Kanye West and Tucker Carlson clip | Explained

ByShweta Kukreti
Feb 23, 2024 05:22 PM IST

Timothy Burke, an ex-journalist, has been indicted for allegedly hacking and leaking a footage of "controversial" conversation between Kanye West and Carlson.

Timothy Burke, an ex-journalist, has been charged with 14 federal felonies for allegedly hacking and leaking a footage of “controversial and unaired” conversation between American rapper Kanye West and Tucker Carlson.

Timothy Burke and Tucker Carlson(X@simonateba)
Timothy Burke and Tucker Carlson(X@simonateba)

According to an indictment unsealed Thursday, Burke, 45, was indicted by a grand jury on one count of conspiracy, six counts of unlawful access to a protected computer, and seven charges of monitoring or revealing wire, oral, or electronic communications.

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The 45-year-old was detained on Thursday morning and is scheduled to make an appearance in federal court in Tampa, Florida, reported Tampa Bay Times.

The arrest comes almost a year after Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigators raided the Burke's home and seized laptops and other devices used by Burke for operating his media business.

Also Read: ‘Ask Alexei Navalny…’: Jon Stewart trolls 'free speech warrior' Carlson’s Russia visit and Putin interview

Know about the case & criminal hacking probe

The charges filed against Burke, who refused violating the law, stemmed from a Justice Department criminal hacking investigation launched in 2023 after previously unseen videos from Carlson's old Fox News show went viral online.

Kanye West was heard making antisemitic slurs to Carlson in the unaired clip released by Vice in 2022, leading to removal of Carlson from Fox News. Next year, the non-profit organisation, Media Matters, released unflattering behind-the-scenes film of Carlson making vulgar statements while laughing with workers and insulting Fox Nation.

While several pondered who could have been responsible for the leak, Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News anchor, proposed a conspiracy theory claiming that the right-wing channel was behind the leaks to disgrace Carlson, whom it had recently expelled.

According to the grand jury indictment, Burke and an unnamed person used “compromised credentials” to "access and save protected commercial broadcast video streams, then disseminate specific clips after taking steps to mask where they came from and how they were obtained."

The indictment did not specifically mention Carlson or Fox News, instead referring to Network #1 as "a multinational media company headquartered in New York City that produced and distributed content through multiple brands." However, in a letter to Fox News last year, the Justice Department indicated that their investigation was linked to the leaked Carlson recordings. Furthermore, Burke's attorney Mark Rasch revealed at the time that his client's Florida house had been inspected in conjunction with the probe.

Also Read: Tucker Carlson condemns Putin, calls Alexei Navalny's death ‘barbaric’

What is Burke's & his family reaction to the charges?

Speaking to CNN, Burke's attorneys, Rasch and Michael Maddux, said their client "has been devastated by the charges, not only professionally and emotionally, but financially as well." They reaffirmed that Burke denies any legal violation.

“This investigation apparently began after former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson’s interview with Kanye West, in which Mr. Carlson heavily edited out racist and anti-Semitic remarks by West,” the lawyers said in a statement.

"These reprehensible remarks were exposed by Mr. Burke's intrepid - and perfectly legal - reporting on the information he found in public sources, on websites accessible without any user IDs or password credentials."

Meanwhile, his wife Lynn Hurtak said: "I am confident in my husband’s innocence, and I support him completely."

"I will not be making additional statements regarding this matter," she added

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