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Former journalist indicted for allegedly hacking and leaking embarrassing Fox News Tucker Carlson footage

Timothy Burke, a former journalist, has been charged with 14 federal crimes over the alleged hack and leaking of a series of unflattering behind-the-scenes clips of Tucker Carlson, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

In the grand jury indictment, Burke was charged with one count of conspiracy, six counts of accessing a protected computer without authorization, and seven counts of intercepting or disclosing wire, oral or electronic communications. The 45-year-old was arrested Thursday morning and was expected to appear in federal court in Tampa, Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The charges against Burke, who denied breaking the law through his lawyers, followed a Justice Department criminal hacking probe opened last year after previously unaired videos from Carlson’s former Fox News show surfaced online. In one unaired clip posted by Vice in 2022, Kanye West was seen making antisemitic remarks to Carlson. The following year, after Carlson was fired from Fox News, the progressive watchdog Media Matters posted embarrassing behind-the-scenes footage of Carlson making crude remarks while joking with staff and denigrating the Fox Nation streaming service.

The fact that previously unaired footage found its way to the outlets confounded media observers, who wondered who could have been behind the leaks. Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News anchor, even floated a conspiracy theory suggesting that the right-wing network was actually behind the leaks to embarrass Carlson, whom it had just fired.

US conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson speaks at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, on July 15, 2023. - Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images
US conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson speaks at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Florida, on July 15, 2023. - Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images

The grand jury indictment, however, accused Burke and an unidentified second individual of using “compromised credentials to gain unauthorized access to protected computers” and then “obtaining and stealing” desired information.


The indictment made no specific mention of Carlson or Fox News, instead referring to Network #1 as “a multinational media company headquartered in New York City, New York that produced and distributed content through multiple brands.” But a letter sent by the Justice Department to Fox News last year indicated its probe was connected to the leaked Carlson clips. Additionally, Burke’s lawyer, Mark Rasch, had confirmed at the time that his client’s Florida home had been searched in connection to the case.

Rasch and Michael Maddux, a second attorney for Burke, told CNN on Thursday that Burke “has been devastated by the charges, not only professionally and emotionally, but financially as well.” The lawyers said their client denies legal wrongdoing.

“This investigation apparently began after former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson’s interview with Kanye West, in which Mr. Carlson heavily edited out racist and anti-semetic remarks by West,” Rasch and Maddux said in a statement. “These reprehensible remarks were exposed by Mr. Burke’s intrepid – and perfectly legal - reporting on the information he found in public sources, on websites accessible without any user IDs or password credentials.”

A Fox News spokesperson did not comment to CNN on the indictment. Carlson did not reply to a request seeking comment.

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