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Cypherpunk Bell found guilty

Incomplete verdict passes muster

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A Washington state federal jury found cypherpunk Jim Bell guilty on two of five counts of stalking government agents. US District Judge Jack Tanner dismissed the three remaining counts after jurors indicated they could not reach a unanimous verdict on them.

"The [partial] verdict will be accepted," Tanner said, and scheduled sentencing for 6 July.

Bell was convicted of stalking IRS agent Jeff Gordon who had previously investigated the defendant, but the jury locked on similar charges involving Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) agent Mike McNall.

Bell and his lawyer, Robert Leen, had argued that the defendant was investigating the agents for legitimate purposes of sniffing out official wrongdoing; but his publication of an essay called Assassination Politics, which appears to advocate using digital cash to reward people who kill undesirable members of the government, made his inquiries appear quite sinister to the Feds.

Some of Bell's own testimony last week became paranoid and bizarre with allegations that his lawyer wished to kill him, perhaps in hopes that the jury would give him a walk on grounds that he's mad. Evidently he's not quite the actor he needed to be. ®

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