Nebraskan pleads guilty to 2008 Web attack on Scientologists

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A 20-year-old man from Nebraska has agreed to plead guilty to charges stemming from a January 2008 attack on Web sites of the Church of Scientology.

Brian Thomas Mettenbrink, of Grand Island, Neb., will plead guilty to the charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer for his involvement in the Web attack, which was organized by the group Anonymous. As part of his plea, Mettenbrink will serve a one-year prison sentence, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Anonymous organized a distributed denial-of-service attack against Scientology Web sites in January 2008. Mettenbrink admitted being involved in that attack, saying that he downloaded software from an Anonymous Internet message board that he used to help overwhelm the Scientology Web sites and make them inaccessible to visitors.

Mettenbrink is expected to plead guilty to the charges in federal court next week. He is the second person to plead guilty to charges stemming from the Web attacks.

Last year, Dmitriy Guzner, a 19-year-old from Verona, N.J., pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack. He was sentenced to one year in prison.

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