A Gwinnett County (GA) jury has indicted Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, and three men — private investigator T.J. Ward, former Forsyth County sheriff’s detective Frank Karic, and Dragon Con co-founder Ed Kramer — on three counts of computer trespass reports the Gwinnett Daily Post (“Gwinnett Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader, three others indicted for computer trespassing”.)
The indictments handed down Wednesday said Schrader and her three co-defendants “knowingly use[d] a computer network without authority and with the intent to interfere with the use of the Gwinnett County Justice Center computer network” without authority and “with the intent to alter the computer network” in violation of Georgia’s computer trespass statute. Each felony count carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Kramer was denied bond and remains in jail. Judge Schrader was released without having to pay bond after turning herself in. Ward and Karic’s bonds have been set at $25,000.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, “Gwinnett judge, DragonCon co-founder indicted in hacking case”,
The case is being handled by the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia because Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter is considered a witness in this case. He had previously turned the investigation over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for the same reason.
Porter has said the judge claimed that he hacked her computer. Porter has vehemently denied having tried to access Schrader’s computer and said in an April hearing that her accusation raises questions about her ability to be impartial at the bench.
Court documents allege Schrader hired a private investigator in February because she suspected someone was trying to remotely access her county-issued computer outside of business hours. The investigator, T.J. Ward, hired Ed Kramer to monitor activity on Schrader’s computer.
Kramer, who hasn’t been involved with DragonCon for years, had previously worked for Ward as a computer forensic analyst. A “WireShark” monitoring device was placed on Schrader’s computer, which allowed Kramer to monitor it for any suspicious activity.
Investigators first discovered Kramer was working with Schrader after Kramer’s February arrest on unrelated charges. Kramer allegedly took a photo of a child at a doctor’s office, which is illegal because he is a registered sex offender. It also violated his probation related to a 2013 child molestation conviction. When police searched Kramer’s computer, officers found a file with Schrader’s name on it.
Judge Schrader has been recused from criminal cases since April, as DA Porter’s office handles those prosecutions, but she continued to oversee civil cases. The state Judicial Qualifications Commission will determine if she is allowed to stay on the bench while her own criminal case proceeds.
[Thanks to Nancy Collins and Ray Radlein for the story.]