Hacker receives jail sentence over Jennifer Lawrence private photo leak
A man who hacked into the Apple iCloud accounts of more than 200 Hollywood stars has been jailed in the United States.
George Garofano was sentenced to eight months in prison and three years supervised release after sharing the private pictures of A-listers including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Scarlett Johansson and Kirsten Dunst in August 2014.
The 26-year-old was one of four men involved in the 'Celebgate' hacking scandal - condemned by Hunger Games actress Lawrence as a "sex crime" - and had pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
In April, Garofano admitted to posing as a member of Apple's online security team to access the usernames and passwords of numerous celebrities. The other web thieves have already been sentenced for their roles in the nude leak, with all receiving sentences of between nine and 18 months.
Earlier this month, Garofano reportedly begged a judge for a shorter sentence, requesting no more than five months in prison and another five months of home confinement and claiming his "life has been ruined" by the scandal.
In a court filing, the North Branford, Connecticut resident stated: "It will take me a while to forgive myself for this, and I am disappointed in myself. I feel remorse for anyone that could have been affected by this on any scale, public or private. It is a part of my life that I will always regret, as it has never been a reflection of who I am as an individual."
In addition, his lawyer, Richard Lynch - who claimed his client was not the mastermind behind the scheme - told the court: "Of course, he was old enough to know better even back then, that the conduct he was engaging in was wrong. But he now stands before the court having matured, accepting responsibility for his actions and not having been in trouble with the law since."
Nonetheless, in a sentencing memo to the court, the prosecution argued that Garofano had displayed "complete and utter disregard for the impact on his victims’ lives", writing: "He did not engage in this conduct on just one occasion. He engaged in this conduct 240 times over the course of 18 months. Not only did Mr Garofano keep for himself the photographs he stole, he disseminated them to other individuals. He may have also sold them to others to earn ‘extra income".
Jennifer Lawrence has spoken out numerous times about the hacking in the past, claiming the incident was "so unbelievably violating that you can't even put it into words."
"Just because I'm a public figure, just because I'm an actress, does not mean that I asked for this," she told the Hollywood Reporter. "It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It's my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can't believe that we even live in that kind of world."
She continued: "I feel like I got gang-banged by the fucking planet — like, there's not one person in the world that is not capable of seeing these intimate photos of me. You can just be at a barbecue and somebody can just pull them up on their phone. That was a really impossible thing to process."
Another victim of Celebgate, actress Emily Ratajkowski, also told GQ, "A lot of people who were victims of [the hack] said anyone who looks at these pictures should feel guilty, but I just don't think that's fair... I'm not sure that anyone who Googles it is necessarily a criminal. I think the people who stole the photos are".