New charge for inmate accused of live-streaming from cell

A federal inmate serving a 10-year sentence in Atlanta is facing a new charge of allegedly smuggling a cellphone into his cell to live-stream on social media, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. 

“The proliferation of contraband cellphones in federal prisons has reached epidemic proportions,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in a news release. “Inmates tempted to use a phone in Atlanta’s federal prison — when we catch you using a cellphone from prison, it will equal more cell time in prison.”

In March 2015, Brian James Wilson was convicted of possession of a stolen firearm and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, Pak’s office said. Since May 2018, Wilson has been an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta. 

This is a screenshot of one of the Facebook Live videos, which shows the inside of Brian James Wilson's prison cell.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

But somehow, Wilson got a cellphone, which isn’t allowed for inmates. And in July, the 32-year-old was caught posting live-stream video to social media from his cell, according to investigators. Wilson posted a photo on Facebook of himself holding the phone in his cell, Pak said. 

The Facebook Live videos were streamed between late May and July, according to federal documents. In one video, Wilson said he set up a GoFundMe page for his cellmate. “We starting a GoFundMe fund for my cellie, man,” Wilson said. “Look at him. He dried up. He hungry.”

Wilson has been charged with possessing a contraband cellphone in prison, Pak said. The FBI and Federal Bureau of Prisons are investigating the case. 

“Unauthorized cellphones in prisons are often used to conduct further illegal activity and can create serious security concerns,” Chris Hacker of FBI Atlanta said. “We will continue to use our resources and investigate how contraband is smuggled into any federal prison.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.