Constitutional Freedoms

Democratic Congressional Aide Threatened to Leak Senators’ Children’s Info

Alleged 'doxer,' who worked in the office of Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, could face 20-plus years in prison

A Democratic congressional aide accused of publishing the private information of at least three Republican lawmakers allegedly threatened to leak senators’ children’s health information if a witness told anyone about his activities.

Jackson Cosko (shown above right), who recently worked for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas, above left), was arrested for allegedly posting the personal information (or “doxing”) of a number of senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Wikipedia — with information such as their home addresses and phone numbers.

Graham, Lee and Hatch’s information was published on Thursday.

A sworn statement by Capitol Police Captain Jason Bell indicated that a witness on Tuesday saw Cosko at a computer in a senator’s office, where he used to work, a day after two other unnamed senators’ information had been put on Wikipedia.

Cosko worked for other Democratic legislators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). While earlier reports identified Cosko was an intern for Jackson Lee, his lawyer said that he was working as a fellow in her office, paid by an outside institution.

Sources familiar with the case tell Fox News that Cosko was in Sen. Hassan’s office, where he was caught using a login he was not authorized to use.

Cosko earlier was let go by Hassan’s office.

A spokesman for Hassan says she “strongly denounces the alleged actions.”

Bell’s statement indicated that Cosko is alleged to have been confronted by the staffer and then walked out.

Hours later the witness received an email from “[email protected]” saying, “If you tell anyone I will leak it all. Emails signal conversations gmails. Senators’ children’s health information and socials.”

“Socials” apparently referred to Social Security numbers, while Signal is a secure messaging application. Bell said that there was probable cause to believe that Cosko published the information of senators, and then made threatening statements directed to the unnamed witness “with the intent to hinder, delay, or prevent” the witness from reporting it to authorities.

Cosko’s defense attorney, Brian Stolarz, told Fox News his client acted alone.

“We all need to take a deep breath,” said Stolarz. “In this political climate everyone wants to jump to conclusions. We need to put the conspiracy theories aside and focus on the allegations. Jackson Cosko is innocent until proven guilty, and we intend to challenge the charges.”

Related: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s Intern Charged with ‘Doxing’ GOP Senators

Cosko is charged with publishing restricted personal information, threats in interstate communication, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, witness tampering, second-degree burglary, and unlawful entry.

The complaint says that five senators were doxed. Fox News learned on Wednesday that Capitol Hill police were investigating additional doxing incidents, including one involving Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Cosko was dressed in shorts, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes and looked uneasy as Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson detailed the seven charges against him, which carry the possibility of more than 20 years in prison.

While it was not clear what the motivation was behind the posting of personal information, Graham, Lee and Hatch have been outspoken defenders of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid sexual assault allegations against him. The doxing began on Thursday, and came moments after Graham had scorched Senate Democrats in a fiery speech for what he called “an unethical sham” in their treatment of Kavanaugh.

Cosko was dressed in shorts, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes and looked uneasy as Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson detailed the seven charges against him, which carry the possibility of more than 20 years in prison.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and William Mears contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission. Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News. 

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