The indictments surround former aides to Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat and non-voting delegate to the House representing the Virgin Islands. The cyberstalking charges allege that Juan McCullum, Plaskett’s general counsel, published nude images of the congresswoman and her husband on a fictitious Facebook account and elsewhere. He accessed the images, the authorities said, when he took Plaskett’s iPhone to an Apple Store for repair.
Another staffer, secretary Dorene Browne-Louis, 45, is accused of covering up last year’s scandal.
According to the government:
The indictment alleges that, during the course of his employment, McCullum offered in March 2016 to assist the House member in repairing the member’s malfunctioning, password-protected cellular iPhone by taking the device to a local Apple store. According to the indictment, the House member provided McCullum with the device solely to have the iPhone repaired. McCullum was not given permission to take, copy, or distribute any of the contents of the iPhone. The iPhone contained the private, nude images and videos. (PDF)
Federal prosecutors said that “McCullum also sent text messages to Browne-Louis alerting her to his activities.” Browne-Louis is accused of deleting those messages and is charged with making “false, incomplete, and misleading statements” to a grand jury and investigators.
Browne-Louis pleaded not guilty to the accusations on Thursday and remains out of jail. No court date has been set for McCullum. The 35-year-old McCullum is a former reality TV star known as “Pretty” on VH1’s I love New York.
Plaskett said she was the victim of “egregious acts.”
“Last year, my privacy was invaded, which was followed by an organized smear campaign and defamatory press reports concerning both me and my family,” Plaskett said. “I was informed today that preliminary arrests had been made of individuals who were involved in those illegal acts. I am deeply grateful to the Capitol Police and US attorney for the District of Columbia for their thorough and in depth investigating the crimes committed against me and those who I love.”
The nude images appeared online last July. McCullum, according to prosecutors, opened a Hotmail account under a fictitious name and e-mailed the images to reporters, politicians, and others. He is also accused of uploading the content to a fake Facebook account and of “friending” Plaskett’s political foes on that account.
McCullum is accused of two counts of cyberstalking. Browne-Louis is charged with two counts of obstruction.
More Info: arstechnica.com