Judge: Bipolar disorder no excuse for e-mail hacking

The insanity defense has been around in criminal cases for a while, but this may be the first time it’s been used to defend breaking into someone’s e-mail account.

The case began as a dispute between Thomas Kaplan and his nephew Guma Aguiar, briefly the CEO of a company formed by Kaplan, over money following the disintegration of their business relationship.

During litigation, Kaplan discovered someone had hacked into his e-mail account and gained access to, among things, messages between him and his attorney. Kaplan accused Aguiar and asked the judge to levy sanctions against him.

Aguiar admitted he did it. However, he claimed that his mental illness — bipolar disorder — caused him to do the hacking because he had an irrational fear about his security.

The judge wouldn’t bite, though, ruling in favor of Kaplan and finding that Aguiar accessed the e-mail account to gain an unfair advantage in court.

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