I’ve known Samy a long time, maybe eight years. He’s a computer genius. At age 15 he was running the L.A. Perl Users Group. I got a conference room for him at my job and he ran the whole thing, even though his mom had to drop him off there. He finished high school early and got emancipated. At 16 or 17 he was living in his own apartment, making good money at a technology job. I didn’t see him often, but it was always a pleasure. Unlike a few other computer geniuses I’ve known, he was personable and sociable, even charming. And Samy is an idea factory. He would pop up, say hi, and show me something he’d done. It was almost always a “holy shit” moment of surprise and admiration for me. More than once he’d figured something out that was potentially Very Big, but he never sold his hacks and to my knowledge he never did any harm.

In October, 2005 someone gave me a link to Samy’s website. On that page, a surprised and a bit frightened Samy recounted his adventures with Myspace. With his usual flair for amusing and instructive hacks, Samy had created a software worm that caused anyone who visited his myspace to have “Samy is my hero” put in their profile. And anyone who viewed their site got the same thing. Exponential growth occurred. Five hours later a million profiles were infected. Six hours later was down.

At the time I was working for Myspace’s parent company. We joked about the hero hack, and we figured they’d probably either fix the hole and hire him, or pretend it didn’t happen.

They did neither of those things. They filed a civil suit, and pressed criminal charges. This week it was announced that Samy had pled out and been sentenced to three years probation, an undisclosed sum of “restitution” to myspace, and restrictions on his use of computers and the internet (employment purposes only) for an undisclosed period.

I think Samy got a raw deal. I’m sure that Myspace and the prosecutor turned the downtime into a cash figure from lost ad revenue, because in my experience the D.A.’s are not interested in computer “crimes” unless they involved large sums of money or national security. It’s my opinion that Myspace needed a security success to offset their more lurid and frightening image as a haunt of murderers and sexual predators. Samy is neither. He’s just a smart kid who made the classic Robert Tappan Morris worm mistake.

I hope they don’t find a way to nail him during his probation.

Deus Ex Miller Faucher and Cafferty L.L.P.

Just as I was running out of money (temporarily) because the government thingy was being slow and bureaucratic and dumb, something happens that never, ever happens. I was part of the class in a class action suit against SmithKline Beecham about Paxil. They lied about withdrawal symptoms, essentially.

Based on the (large) amount of money I spent on Paxil over the years, I just got a check for $477.08.

Suck it, Smith and Kline and Beecham. That withdrawal was worth more than $477.08 in pain to me, but I’m glad to have it right now.

Lionel Hutz meets Sideshow Bob in Rapetown

cavalloDefense lawyer/supervillain/accused bailbond fraudster Joseph Cavallo is included in a lawsuit by the Jane Doe victim in the Haidl Gang-Rape Case. He’s responded as expected; with threats and hints of blackmail. Meanwhile, it’s clear that L.A. Times’ columnist Dana Parsons has completely and permanently disgraced himself with his coverage. I know that columnists are more “personal” in their approach than daily news journalists, but letting your seething misogyny ruin analysis of a gang rape case that highlights the bizarre world of Orange County wealthy teens and reveals corruption and collusion all the way to the top of County government is… lame.

But back to Cavallo. Clearly, if he’s included in this lawsuit, then that little bitch is going to find out what happens when you fuck with Joe Cavallo! Why, he’s going to tell the ENTIRE SCHOOL what a SLUT she is, and she’ll never get to have lunch with the popular girls again! Dude, she was raped with a Snapple bottle and she’s after blood. I don’t think you can do much worse to her now. Go ahead and release your terrible revenge upon the town of Springfield.

Attorney vows SoCal sex assault victim will regret suing him


1:50 a.m. March 20, 2006

SANTA ANA – The attorney for one of three young men sentenced to prison for the videotaped sexual assault of an unconscious teenage girl vows that the victim and her family will regret naming him as a defendant in a $26 million civil lawsuit.

“They’re going to rue the day they brought me into this case,” said Joseph G. Cavallo, who represented Gregory Haidl, son of a former Orange County assistant sheriff.

Haidl, 20, and co-defendants Keith Spann and Kyle Nachreiner, both 21, were sentenced earlier this month to six years in state prison stemming from the July 2002 incident.

The civil lawsuit filed in December by the victim, now 20, names as defendants her attackers, Cavallo and two defense investigators, John Warren and Shawn Smigel.

The victim, known only as Jane Doe, alleges that Cavallo and the investigators harassed and intimidated her by staking out her Rancho Cucamonga house, improperly obtaining her medical records and revealing her identity, among other things.

“We’re taking these people to task about what they did,” said her attorney, Sheldon Lodmer. “They crossed the line in terms of appropriate legal defense.”

Cavallo said he did nothing wrong. He denied Jane Doe’s claim that investigators screamed out her name at her new school and said they had to stake out her home to serve her parents with court papers.

He characterized the lawsuit as “revenge” and said that during the civil trial, his defense will include bringing up new information about Jane Doe’s past.

“By the time I get done with Jane Doe, the case won’t be worth $10. I know more about Jane Doe than her lawyer and her family,” Cavallo said.

Haidl, Spann and Nachreiner were convicted last year of 15 felony counts for sexually assaulting the then-16-year-old victim with lighted cigarettes, a pool cue, a Snapple bottle and a juice can as she lay nude and unconscious on a pool table at the home of Haidl’s father, who was not present.

During the criminal trial, Cavallo and other defense attorneys portrayed the victim as an emotionally troubled, promiscuous, would-be porn star who faked unconsciousness on the tape.

Lodmer said he anticipated Cavallo would attack his client.

“I’m sure he will use this opportunity, and she’s ready to stand up to it,” Lodmer said.