Reuters has suspended Matthew Keys, the news agency’s deputy social media editor who faces a federal conspiracy indictment for allegedly working with hacking group Anonymous to alter a headline on the Los Angeles Times website.
David Girardin, a spokesman for the news agency, told the Associated Press on Friday that Keys has been suspended but will continue to be paid.
Keys was indicted Thursday by federal authorities after he allegedly gave Anonymous vital login data that allowed the group to access the computer system of the Los Angeles Times, which is owned by Tribune Co. The hacking incident occurred in Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, 2010.
Keys had previously been discharged from a Sacramento television station owned by Tribune. According to the AP, Keys’ Facebook page says he worked at KTXL, a Fox affiliate, from June 2008 to April 2010.
Reuters hired Keys in his current position in 2012.
Investigators allege that Keys gave a hacker named "Sharpie" the login information in an Internet chat room frequented by hackers and urged the hacker to do some damage to the Tribune Co.
In the hack, members of Anonymous altered a story on House Democrats to read in part, “Pressure Builds in House to Elect CHIPPY 1337.”
In the indictment, one count charged Keys, of Secaucus, N.J., with conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer. Another count accused him transmitting information to damage a protected computer. A third count charged him with attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 for each count.
The government is also asking that a laptop computer and hard drive be turned over.
He is scheduled to be arraigned in the case on April 12 in Sacramento