Judge refuses to dismiss MySpace hoax case

Thursday, September 4, 2008 | 4:50 p.m. CDT

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge tentatively rejected two motions on Thursday to dismiss charges against a woman in a MySpace hoax that allegedly led to a 13-year-old girl's suicide.

U.S. District Judge George H. Wu said during a hearing that he intends to take more time to consider a third motion to dismiss the case against Lori Drew of O'Fallon, Mo.

She is accused of helping create a false-identity account on the social networking site and harassing her young neighbor with cruel messages.

The girl subsequently hanged herself in 2006.

Drew pleaded not guilty after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.

Wu set an Oct. 7 trial date. He plans to make a final ruling on all three dismissal motions within a few days.

A defense attorney previously argued that prosecutors are bending a cyber crime statute to prosecute his client on charges of conspiracy and accessing computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress.

At issue is whether the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is relevant to the case.

Prosecutors have filed voluminous motions arguing the statute can be used to prosecute cyber bullying, though it has traditionally been used for crimes such as hacking into computers.

The defense filed a reply arguing that Drew did not violate the statute.


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