News and Commentary

‘Guardian Hacktivist’ Martin Gottesfeld Convicted; Faces Up To 15 Years In Prison

On August 1, 2018, “Guardian Hacktivist” Martin Gottesfeld was found guilty on two charges — conspiracy to intentionally damage a protected computer in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 371, and intentional damage to protected computers in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1030 (a)(5)(A).

As a result of the conviction, Gottesfeld faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on November 14.

If you are unfamiliar with the case, check out my previous coverage below prior to reading further:

I had the opportunity to speak with Gottesfeld after the verdict. The following is our conversation:

DW: Is there anything you want to say in the immediate aftermath of this verdict?

GOTTESFELD: Yeah, an underreported aspect of this, which is kind of a silver lining, is that the jury didn’t go with the government’s narrative of potential harm to patients. The jury was asked a question on each count — “did this alleged act effect or potentially effect patient care, diagnosis, treatment, etc,.” and the jury refused to say yes on both counts.

The government’s entire narrative against me has been that I’m a reckless guy who potentially imperiled the hospital’s most vulnerable patients, and that’s what they’ve been using as a cudgel against me for two and a half years. Multiple news outlets didn’t go with it, and neither did the jury.

What they’ve convicted me of is costing the government money while they were crippling and torturing a girl in a wheelchair. They convicted a guy for helping a child; they convicted a guy who didn’t harm a soul.

[The jury was asked on the verdict sheet to answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

(1) Did the offense cause loss to one or more persons during any one-year period aggregating at least $5,000 in value?

(2) Did the offense cause the potential modification or impairment of the medical examination, diagnosis, treatment, or care of one or more individuals?

While the jury answered “yes” to the first question on each charge, they specifically asked that the court “consider a verdict including only one of the subparagraphs of each charge,” meaning that they were seemingly unable to reach an agreement on the question regarding harm or potential harm to patients.]

[[{“fid”:”36390″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld verdict 1.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via PACER”},”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“1”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld verdict 1.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via PACER”},”2″:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld verdict 1.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via PACER”}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”Gottesfeld verdict 1.”,”title”:”Screenshot via PACER”,”class”:”media-element file-default”,”data-delta”:”2″}}]]

[[{“fid”:”36415″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld Verdict sheet 2.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via Pacer”},”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“3”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld Verdict sheet 2.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via Pacer”}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”Gottesfeld Verdict sheet 2.”,”title”:”Screenshot via Pacer”,”class”:”media-element file-default”,”data-delta”:”3″}}]]

[[{“fid”:”36416″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld Jury Question.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via Pacer”},”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“4”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Gottesfeld Jury Question.”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Screenshot via Pacer”}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”Gottesfeld Jury Question.”,”title”:”Screenshot via Pacer”,”class”:”media-element file-default”,”data-delta”:”4″}}]]

DW: Tell me if I’m correct in my assessment. The jury was told that they couldn’t acquit you based on the “torture” defense?

GOTTESFELD: The jury was told in no uncertain terms by Judge Gorton that my good intent was not a legal defense, and was irrelevant to whether or not I committed the act.

There were multiple defenses we were precluded from using under the umbrella of “justification,” two of which are “necessity” and “defense of others.” These are called “affirmative defenses.” In other words, “I did it, but here’s why, and here’s why it’s okay.” Basically, if it was your little girl who was locked in a psych ward, unable to speak to you, and was sending you notes saying she was being tortured, what would you want a stranger to do? Would you want him to say, “Hmm, two years from now, some biased judge might not let me mention this little girl, so I’m not gonna help her.” Is that what we, as a society, want?

DW: When you appeal the verdict, will you have any new information for the court?

GOTTESFELD: As you know, I have rock-solid appellate issues on the Speedy Trial Act, and the suppression matter has become more interesting.

In its opposition to the suppression filing, the government tried to downplay [Magistrate Judge Marianne] Bowler’s role. However, her husband’s workplace came up by name multiple times. It was actually mentioned by name by the prosecutors in their closing argument. Bowler’s husband’s workplace was effected by the DDoS campaign. She should have recused.

[Judge Bowler is married to Dr. Marc Alan Pfeffer, who works at Brigham and and Women’s Hospital, a “teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.” Bowler is the judge who signed off on the search warrant for Gottesfeld’s home.]

Regardless, the appellate court gets to take into account the full trial transcript when they decide a pretrial motion. So the appellate court gets to use all this evidence that Bowler’s husband’s workplace was affected when we appeal on the suppression grounds as well. I believe I’ll win on appeal.

DW: How so?

GOTTESFELD: If Gorton does try to hit me with 15 years, and I lose the appeal on the convictions themselves, I can still appeal the sentence. I can appeal not just the fact that this trail shouldn’t have happened in the first place because the Speedy Trial Act says so; not just that the search shouldn’t have happened because it was a biased magistrate who signed the warrant. Even if I lose on those two grounds, I can then say that the sentence is out of whack because the government swung and missed on this big enhancement for potentially imperiling patients, on which the jury failed to sustain them.

Gottesfeld’s sentencing will take place on November 14, 2018. I’d like to thank Martin for taking the time to speak with The Daily Wire. For more information about the case, visit

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Guardian Hacktivist’ Martin Gottesfeld Convicted; Faces Up To 15 Years In Prison