Ed Kramer Takes Plea Bargain in Computer Trespassing Case

Ed Kramer entered an Alford plea — which allows a defendant to enter a plea without admitting any guilt — to computer trespassing during a hearing in Gwinnett (GA) Superior Court on February 3. Kramer is a co-founder of Dragon Con, but has not been a co-owner since 2013.

Kramer received a sentence of 10 years of probation for one count of computer trespassing. Related additional counts were dropped.

Kramer was one of four co-defendants in the hacking case, together with private investigator TJ Ward, Ward’s employee Frank Karic, and Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader. They had been indicted on three counts of felony computer trespass. GBI investigators allege that Judge Schrader hired Ward to investigate her concerns that DA Danny Porter was trying to hack into her computer. It has yet to be shared why the judge believed that, and Porter has denied the claim. Kramer worked for Ward tracking the activity on a monitoring system installed on the judge’s computer.

T.J. Ward pleaded guilty to two counts of computer trespassing last fall and received a 24-month probation sentence. Frank Karic reached an agreement with prosecutors last week to enter a one-year pre-trial diversion program. With Kramer having accepted a plea bargain, Judge Schrader will proceed to trial alone next week on charges of computer trespassing. Karic and Kramer are expected to testify at the trial, according to John Regan, a prosecutor handling the case for the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.

The hacking case came to light following Kramer’s unrelated arrest in February 2019, when he was accused of taking a photograph of a child in a Lawrenceville doctor’s office. Investigators searching Kramer’s home computer reportedly found a folder with Judge Schrader’s name on it, and discovered Kramer allegedly had gained the ability to access the computer system for the county’s courthouse. On his home computer they also found controversial images which led to a child porn charge against Kramer, although his attorney argued in a court hearing that the image isn’t pornographic. These other charges are still pending.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]

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7 thoughts on “Ed Kramer Takes Plea Bargain in Computer Trespassing Case

  1. @Doug Berry–No. A plea deal produces a lesser sentence; that is the point–a lesser sentence in exchange for not having to actually prosecute.

    It doesn’t mean automatically no real penalty at all, for a felony, that incidentally gave you the access to potentially alter records in your other felony criminal case.

  2. Just so. I hadn’t heard (or had forgotten) the term “Alford Plea”; Wikipedia tells me the eponymous case involved accepting a sentence of decades on a 2nd-degree murder charge instead of going to trial, with death at stake, for 1st. The deal offered can be scaled however the parties work it out. I suspect that in this case the DA felt that getting testimony that might oust a judge who had shown execrable judgment (not to say outright paranoia) was more important than hanging more trouble on someone who might medical his way out of serving a jail sentence.

  3. An Alford Plea is how the West Memphis Three were ultimately released from prison: They asserted their innocence, but acknowledged that the DA had enough evidence to convict them (and the DA, I suppose, didn’t have to admit to whatever mishandling of the investigation may have happened), and the judge sentenced them to time served (plus probation, I think) and let them go. Which is how i found out about it.

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