A Nebraska man agreed this week to plead guilty in connection with attacks on Web sites for the Churchof Scientology, becoming the second person to do so since the investigation began.
Brian Thomas Mettenbrink of Grand Island, Neb., will plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer. Under the deal, he will serve one year in prison, federal authorities announced.
According to authorities, Mettenbrink participated in the attack on the Scientology Websites that were orchestrated by a group operating under the name "Anonymous," which announced it was launching an offensive against the Church of Scientology in January 2008. In documents filed Jan. 25, Mettenbrink admitted downloading computer software from an "Anonymous" message board and using it to bombard Scientology Websites in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Another man, Dmitriy Guzner of Verona, N.J., plead guilty for his role in attacking Scientology Websites and was sentenced last year to one year and one day in federal prison.
Mettenbrink was scheduled to go to trial on the charges Feb. 9, but is expected to formally plead guilty next week in federal court in Los Angeles. The cases against Guzner and Mettenbrink are part of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Secret Service Electronics Crime Task Force, composed of the FBI, LAPD, U.S. Secret Service and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office Bureau of Investigation.