The former Sheila Jackson Lee staffer who posted the private information of Republican senators during the final hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been sentenced to four years in prison for his crime.
Jackson Cosko was described by prosecutors as having “self-righteous entitlement” and believing “that he could violate the sanctity of the United State Senate at will and threaten individual Senators as he pleased,” The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosniak reported. Rosniak further wrote prosecutors sought to make an example of Cosko because his crime allegedly led to other incidents of attacks on political opposition.
Cosko is the son of the CEO of a major construction company who has ties to House Speaker Nance Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Cosko previously worked as a staffer in Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D-NH) office, but had since moved on to working for Lee. While senators questioned Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the now-Associate Justice of groping her while they were both in high school some 30 years ago, Cosko snuck into his former boss’ office to use a computer to publish the private information of some of the Republican senators who supported Kavanaugh.
Another staffer in Hassan’s office recognized Cosko and reported him, so he sent the staffer an email threatening to “leak it all” if the staffer told anyone what he had done.
“Emails signal conversations gmails. Senators children’s health information and socials,” Cosko wrote to the staffer.
Cosko pleaded guilty in April “to crimes related to an unparalleled effort to ransack a Senate office, extorting a Democratic senator, illegally harming Republicans for their political views, and blackmailing a witness,” Rosniak reported.
Prosecutors, according to Rosniak, asked for a five-year prison sentence.
“The government believes that a significant sentence would help to make clear that difference of political opinion do not entitle people to engage in politically motivated, criminal attacks threatening elected officials with whom he disagrees, and would thereby encourage respect for the law, and deter future criminal conduct,” they wrote.
Rosniak reported that new details about Cosko’s crimes were released in a sentencing memo, including the fact that the senate learned later — because Cosko told them — that the offices were being spied on due to his keylogger devices. Cosko also made handwritten notes to himself about the crime, according to evidence filed in court. One notepad said:
-Backup all files
-Wipe down comps
Prosecutors wrote that Cosko laughed about his crimes and said he planned to use the data he stole from the senate offices “to punish people who disagreed with his politics.”
“The defendant operated under the belief that he was entitled to inflict emotional distress upon United States Senators and their families, simply because they disagreed with the defendant and had different political views,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo. “The government believes that there appears to have been an increase in similar criminal harassment, particularly through social media channels, by people across the political spectrum.”
On Wednesday, a second former Hassan staffer was charged for acting as Cosko’s accomplice. Politico reported that Samantha Deforest Davis, a former staff assistant for Hassan who left in December, was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges for helping Cosko. Davis allegedly tampered with evidence and aided and abetted computer fraud by allowing Cosko to use her keys to repeatedly return to Hassan’s office after he was let go.