Lawyer pleads guilty in connection with cyberattacks on Leagle and RipoffReport

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Criminal Justice

A lawyer in Wichita, Kansas, will have to pay about $430,000 after pleading guilty in connection with a cyberattack on websites that posted negative information about him.

Lawyer Brad Pistotnik pleaded guilty Tuesday to three misdemeanor counts of being an accessory after the fact to an extortionate threat over the internet, report KAKE, the Wichita Eagle and a press release. He was ordered to pay a $375,000 fine and restitution of $55,200. The lump sum payment due immediately totaled $430,500, according to the judgment listing the fines ordered, which was filed Wednesday.

Pistotnik, 63, is known as “the Bull” because of commercials for his services as an accident lawyer in which he rides a bull.

The plea agreement, filed Tuesday, says Pistotnik met with a co-defendant offering web design and reputation management services in September 2014. The co-defendant, software engineer David Dorsett, then flooded servers for three websites with emails demanding the takedown of negative information about Pistotnik, the plea agreement alleges.

The websites attacked were Leagle.com, RipoffReport.com and the website for the law firm Jaburg Wilk. Leagle posted a Kansas Supreme Court disciplinary opinion involving Pistotnik, while RipoffReport posted a negative review of Pistotnik. Jaburg Wilk represented RipoffReport.

After the negative review was removed from RipoffReport, Dorsett sent Pistotnik an email describing his method and showing that the negative information on RipoffReport had been removed, according to the plea agreement. Four days later, Dorsett sent Pistotnik an invoice for his services, which Pistotnik paid the same day.

Pistotnik’s lawyer, Mark Schoenhofer, told KAKE that his client had gotten involved with the wrong person and he had learned from the incident. “This was an unfortunate thing,” Schoenhofer said.

A change of plea hearing for Dorsett is pending, according to KAKE and the Wichita Eagle.

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