Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter during a May 9, 2019, hearing related to the ongoing courthouse hacking saga involving Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader and DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

DragonCon co-founder provides Gwinnett hacking data, gets out of jail

Ed Kramer — the excommunicated DragonCon co-founder, convicted sex offender and central figure in an ongoing courthouse hacking saga — has cut a deal that will get him out of the Gwinnett County jail.

During a Friday afternoon court hearing, Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter and Kramer’s attorney agreed on a wide-reaching arrangement that will put Kramer back on house arrest inside his Duluth-area home, where he spent nearly three years following his 2013 child-molestation plea.

The deal is contingent upon Kramer paying a $25,000 bond; agreeing to drop his recent efforts to have Porter removed from prosecution of his criminal case; and continuing to cooperate in the GBI’s investigation into the strange hacking scandal in which he, Porter and a superior court judge are key players.

Kramer has already turned over data tied to the probe, Porter said.

He will remain on house arrest until his various legal cases are resolved and will be barred from using the internet in any capacity on any device, Porter said.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve been negotiating with (Kramer’s) lawyer to figure out a way to get him into a situation where he’s no longer in the jail,” Porter said after the brief hearing. “He is such a difficult inmate that the jail has requested us to figure out some way for him to be transferred, either to another facility or in this case house arrest.”

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Kramer was in a holding area outside the courtroom but did not attend Friday’s hearing. His attorney, Stephen Reba, declined to speak to reporters afterward.

Kramer has a history of health problems, is confined to a wheelchair and generally relies on oxygen tanks to help his breathing. He also has a history of inundating officials with complaints while incarcerated.

According to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kramer filed nearly 50 “pre-grievances” during the first two months at the Gwinnett County jail after his Feb. 26 arrest for allegedly taking a photo of a 7-year-old boy at a doctor’s office.

It was Kramer’s most recent arrest that launched Gwinnett’s courthouse hacking saga — which currently has Superior Court Judge Kathryn Schrader unable to perform many of her job duties.

When Kramer was detained, Lawrenceville Police Department and district attorney’s investigators searched his home computers. As Porter describes it, subsequent investigation found a folder with Schrader’s name on it among Kramer’s files.

According to court documents, subsequent investigation found that Schrader had hired private investigator T.J. Ward to look into her concerns that someone — possibly Porter — was trying to access her work computer remotely.

It has remained unclear why Schrader suspected the district attorney of hacking.

Ward had another man install a monitoring device called a WireShark on Schrader’s county-issued computer. He then tasked Kramer, whom he had previously employed as a computer forensic analyst, with keeping track of the activity.

Fearing Kramer may have been given access to the countywide computer network, Porter alerted the GBI. The state agency has confirmed it’s conducting a criminal investigation but has otherwise said little about the case.

Porter revealed Friday, though, that Kramer had already handed over the data allegedly acquired by the WireShark.

“The information that’s been returned to us is exactly what you’d expect from a passive intercept of the network traffic,” Porter said. “It is just a huge list of network traffic back and forth, it’s not just on Judge Schrader’s computer. It’s on computers all over the county and their network traffic.”

The district attorney is not involved in the GBI investigation and said it’s not yet clear if Kramer might have been able to access more data.

Earlier this month, Schrader was ordered not to preside over any cases brought by Porter’s office for 60 days. The order will be revisited at the end of the 60-day period, when Senior Judge John Goger hopes there will be more answers from the GBI. Porter had questioned Schrader’s ability to be impartial.

Re-sentencing possible?

Kramer was first charged with inappropriately touching young boys in 2000. Thanks to legal maneuvering and his health concerns, he avoided prosecution until 2013, when he entered a negotiated plea to child molestation and was sentenced to serve almost three years on house arrest and 15 more on probation.

The house arrest portion was already completed before his most recent arrest. But in addition to facing new charges — misdemeanors handled by the Gwinnett solicitor’s office — Kramer could also be found in violation of his probation.

That could dramatically change his original sentence. Because Kramer was sentenced under Georgia’s First Time Offender Act, a judge could ignore the previously negotiated plea and send Kramer to prison for decades.

Citing Porter’s recusal from the GBI’s hacking investigation, Kramer had pushed for Porter to be removed from handling further proceedings in his original case. That was the original matter scheduled to be addressed during Friday’s hearing.

Kramer found a way out of jail, instead.

“I feel pretty comfortable he’s isolated … without taxpayers having to bear the brunt of his medical costs,” Porter said.

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