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Fired Reuters editor found guilty of computer fraud charges

Journalist Matthews Keys (photo), fired by Reuters, was found guilty by a California jury of three criminal charges related to helping members of a hacking collective to gain access to a former employer's computers.

Keys, 28, was indicted in 2013 for conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer and two other computer fraud counts. He was accused of giving Anonymous, an amorphous group that often conducts multiple hacking campaigns, access to publisher Tribune’s computer systems in December 2010. Keys had just left a job at a Tribune-owned Sacramento television station following a dispute with a supervisor.

Prosecutors said Keys urged on the hackers after supplying a password.

A story on Tribune's Los Angeles Times website was altered by one of the hackers, the indictment said.

The events in the indictment occurred before Keys joined Reuters to work as deputy social media editor on in 2012. A month after Keys was charged, he said Reuters dismissed him.

His attorney Tor Ekeland said he would appeal the verdict. Sentencing is scheduled for January 2016. The Justice Department has not determined what penalty it will request, but it will likely be less than five years in jail, spokeswoman Lauren Horwood said. The maximum sentence Keys could face is 25 years and $750,000 in fines. ■