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Court files: Incriminating notes on 'doxxing' found next to tray of cocaine in former Hassan staffer's apartment

By TODD FEATHERS
New Hampshire Union Leader

October 10. 2018 6:58AM

Jackson Cosko 



WASHINGTON — The former staffer who allegedly broke into Sen. Maggie Hassan's office and published confidential information about another senator left a trail of evidence in his apartment, according to court records.

It included written reminders to "burn aliases," "wipe down comp(uters)," "backup all files," and "mail backup."

And it was all sitting next to a tray of cocaine, according to documents filed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia's office.

Jackson Cosko was arrested Oct. 3 and faces a litany of felony charges — including identity theft, computer fraud, interstate theft, witness tampering, and second-degree burglary — stemming from what prosecutors characterized as a "doxxing" plot to publish confidential information about lawmakers.

At a hearing on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Robinson ordered him held without bail until trial. Prosecutors argued that he presented a continued danger to the public.

In addition to the other memos and drugs, police allegedly also found several encrypted data storage devices in Cosko's apartment that they have not yet been able to crack and a scrawled note reading "contest of who to dox next."

That evidence, prosecutors wrote, suggested that Cosko may have obtained personal information about other lawmakers and could even have mailed it to himself or others.

The 27-year-old Burlingame, Calif., native and graduate of George Washington University also has a previous felony conviction on his record, according to court filings. That case has been sealed by a Washington, D.C. court, according to Cosko's attorney, Brian Stolarz.

Prosecutors claim Cosko initially published sensitive information about Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and two other Republican senators on various Wikipedia pages during the Sept. 27 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Lee is the only senator named in the records.

After another Republican senator called for an investigation into the doxxing, Cosko allegedly edited the senator's Wikipedia page to include sensitive information and the message "He dares call for an investigation of ME?!?!?!? ... I am the Golden God! ... we are malicious and hostile."

Minutes later, he allegedly published sensitive information on a fifth senator's Wikipedia page.

The next day, a staffer in Hassan's office caught Cosko illegally using a computer in the office with stolen login credentials, according to court records.

Cosko had worked for Hassan from January 2017 to May 2018 as legislative correspondent and systems administrator, according to an archived copy of his LinkedIn page, which has been deleted.

Court filings for the Cosko case can be viewed below:



Hours after being caught in the office, Cosko allegedly emailed the staffer to say "I own EVERYTHING ... emails, signal conversations, (and) gmails. Senators children's health information and (social security numbers)."

He threatened to "leak it all" if the staffer reported the break-in, according to court records.

Aaron Jacobs, a spokesman for Hassan, previously told the Union Leader that the senator "strongly denounces the alleged actions" and that she and her staff "did not have reason to believe that he posed a risk" when they hired him.

He was forced to resign from Hassan's office earlier this year for failing to follow office protocol, Jacobs said.

At the time of his arrest, Cosko was working in an unpaid position in the office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

Despite some reports to the contrary from conservative media outlets, Cosko was not affiliated with or being paid by any outside group, according to his attorney.

"Mr. Cosko was unpaid by Congresswoman Jackson Lee's office," Stolarz said in an interview. "Like I said on the date of his arrest, the conspiracy theories are unproductive and he is innocent until proven guilty."

Jackson Lee's office did not return multiple requests for clarification.

In an Oct. 4 news conference, the congresswoman said that Cosko worked for her answering phones and drafting letters to other lawmakers for 38 days before being fired the day after his arrest.

Interns must submit a copy of their identification and a resume and participate in an interview, she said.

No one from Jackson Lee's office reached out to Hassan's office about Cosko prior to his hiring, Jacobs said, and they were unaware he was working for the congresswoman.

tfeathers@unionleader.com


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