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Journalist arrested, hit with 14 federal crimes for allegedly hacking, leaking Fox News Tucker Carlson content
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Journalist arrested, hit with 14 federal crimes for allegedly hacking, leaking Fox News Tucker Carlson content

A journalist accused of leaking videos of former Fox News star Tucker Carlson was arrested in Florida on Thursday and hit with 14 federal charges.

Timothy Burke, 45, was charged with one count of conspiracy, six counts of accessing a protected computer without authorization, and seven counts of intercepting or disclosing wire, oral, or electronic communications. Burke faces up to 62 years in federal prison if convicted on all counts.

Burke was released on the condition that he severs contact with his alleged co-conspirator.

The Department of Justice stated that Burke and his co-conspirator "secured and used compromised credentials — usernames and passwords — to gain unauthorized access to protected computers owned or used by the victim entities."

The indictment said Burke and the co-conspirator were able to steal unaired Carlson video clips by hacking into StreamCo — a U.S.-based online media streaming company used by Fox News.

Federal prosecutors accused Burke and the co-conspirator of obtaining and stealing StreamCo proprietary information from its website and then "used that stolen StreamCo proprietary information to intercept, download, and save the StreamCo broadcaster-customers’ streams."

The suspects allegedly stole video of Carlson caught on a hot mic after the "Tucker Carlson Tonight" show had ended.

In May 2023, left-wing Media Matters published candid videos of Carlson interacting with Fox News staff. The videos were leaked a month after Fox News fired Carlson.

Unaired video clips from Tucker's interview with Kanye West surfaced online in October 2022.

Vice's technology blog Motherboard published the videos.

"Fox News recently aired a two-part interview between Tucker Carlson and Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West," the article reads. "Motherboard has obtained portions of the interview that were edited out of the final broadcast. These include numerous anti-Semitic sentiments from Ye, a strange and lengthy digression about 'fake children' he claimed were planted in his house to manipulate his own children, and a statement that he's vaccinated against COVID-19."

Burke's lawyers — Mark Rasch and Michael Maddux — said in a statement, "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. 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."

Burke's lawyers sent a letter to an assistant U.S. attorney in July 2023 that read: "It was embarrassing because Mr. Burke was able to find and expose information about the Carlson/West interview," adding that Fox News "was embarrassed because it had made those feeds available to the public in a way that Mr. Burke could — and did — find them and disseminate them."

Before entering the courthouse on Thursday, Maddux told the Tampa Bay Times, "It's not hacking; it’s just good investigative journalism. We obviously emphatically deny these charges, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to defend him and exonerate him."

Burke's legal team denied hacking into the Fox News database and claimed the journalist obtained the videos by following a hyperlink to live video feeds that didn’t require passwords and were not encrypted.

Burke is married to Tampa City Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak — a progressive Democrat, according to Florida Politics.

"I am confident in my husband’s innocence, and I support him completely," she said in a statement.

The Tampa Bay Times previously reported that FBI agents searched Burke's home in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa in May 2023. As part of the investigation, federal agents reportedly seized electronic devices and computers.

Burke previously worked at the Daily Beast and Gawker's sports-themed website, Deadspin. He is most known for posting sports video highlights and screenshots on social media.

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Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@Paul_Sacca →