Celebrity Hacker Christopher Chaney Gets 10 Years in Prison

By Andrew Lu on December 18, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Christopher Chaney will spend the next 10 years in prison after being convicted of hacking into the personal email accounts of Hollywood starlets and posting revealing photos he found on the Internet. The celebrity hacker had faced up to 60 years in prison.

Chaney's trial made national headlines. Actress Scarlett Johansson even told the court in a video statement she felt humiliated and embarrassed that nude photos of herself, meant for then-husband Ryan Reynolds, were leaked online, reports CBS News. Johansson called Chaney's acts "perverted."

Along with hacking celebrities like Johansson, Mila Kunis, and Christina Aguilera, Chaney also targeted ordinary women. Chaney was accused of hacking a former co-worker's account and sending nude photos of the woman to her father.

While Chaney could have received a maximum sentence of 60 years, prosecutors had initially only sought six years for the celebrity hacker. However, the judge decided to go above the requested sentence, and ordered Chaney to a 10-year prison term.

A judge can usually consider a variety of factors in determining an appropriate sentence. These factors can include what the prosecutor seeks, the harm done, the defendant's prior criminal record, whether the defendant is remorseful, and other relevant factors.

Explaining the harsher sentence, the judge said that the six years that prosecutors sought was not enough, as he was concerned that Chaney would not be able to control his behavior and had shown a "callous disregard" for his actions, according to CBS News. The judge pointed out that Chaney continued to pursue his victims even after the FBI had seized the hacker's computer in determining his sentence.

For his part, the celebrity hacker apologized, saying, "I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry." Signaling that perhaps he cares more about the digital world than the real world, the hacker also said, "I could be sentenced to never use a computer again and I wouldn't care."

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