United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
OPINION & ORDER
KAREN K. CALDWELL, Chief District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on the defendant's motion for acquittal, or in the alternative, motion for a new trial (DE 102). For the following reasons, the Court will deny the defendant's motion.
Defendant Ibrahimshah Shahulhameed was found guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A), which makes it unlawful to knowingly cause the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally cause damage without authorization, to a protected computer. During a trial that lasted approximately one week, the United States presented evidence that the defendant was terminated from his position at Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing North America-where he worked as a subcontractor-on August 23, 2012. Following his termination, the defendant used his remote access to Toyota's computer system to make a series of programming changes to Toyota's servers that caused extensive damage. The defendant now moves for acquittal pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, arguing that the evidence was insufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found him guilty under 28 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A).
When addressing a motion for judgment of acquittal, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution and determine whether there was sufficient evidence offered at trial to convince a rational trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt that all of the elements of the charged crimes have been established. United States v. Graham, 622 F.3d 445, 448 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court is precluded from weighing the evidence, considering witness credibility, or substituting its judgment for that of the jury. United States v. Chavis, 296 F.3d 450, 455 (6th Cir. 2002). The court gives the government "the benefit of all inferences which can reasonably be drawn from the evidence, even if the evidence is circumstantial." United States v. Carter, 355 F.3d 920, 925 (6th Cir. 2004). The defendant can be found guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A) only if the following facts are proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) the defendant knowingly caused the transmission of a program, information, code, or command to a protected computer;
(2) the defendant, as a result of such conduct, intentionally caused damage to a protected computer without authorization; and
(3) the damage resulted in losses of more than $5, 000 during a one-year period.
In view of these elements, the defendant presents three reasons as to why he is entitled to acquittal under Rule 29: First, he contends that insufficient evidence was presented to prove that the defendant's actions caused more than $5, 000 in damage. Second, the defendant argues that the evidence does not support a finding that he was "without authorization" at the time the programming changes occurred. Third, the defendant argues that the evidence did not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the individual who issued the programming changes that caused the damage. All three of these arguments are without merit and the defendant's motion will be denied.
A. Evidence of Damage
The United States must prove that the damage caused by the defendant resulted in losses of $5, 000 or more within a one-year period. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A), a "loss" includes "the cost of responding to an offense, conducting a damage assessment, and restoring the data, program, system, or information to its condition prior to the offense." 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(11). Losses can include the cost of time spent by a salaried employee of the victim in responding to the damage. See United States v. Millot, 433 F.3d 1057, 1061 (8th Cir. 2006). Thus, the cost of Toyota's remedial efforts in responding to the defendant's cyber-attack is properly considered a loss under § 1030(a)(5)(A).
To prove that the defendant caused at least $5, 000 in damage to the affected computers, the United States relied on the testimony and reports by a number of witnesses. Deva Veerasamy, an information systems employee at Toyota, testified that he spent a significant amount of hours diagnosing and repairing the problems caused by the defendant's actions. Tom Cantrell, a supervisor at Toyota, testified to the hundreds of hours that employees within his department worked to repair the damage. Although these witnesses did not quantify the exact cost of the many hours of labor expended, the United States introduced Exhibit 6 to make such a quantification. Exhibit 6 provided a summary of the hours and costs incurred by Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions (CBTS) and Toyota. It did so by displaying the number of hours employees spent working on the problems alongside of each employee's hourly rate. According to this exhibit, the damage caused to Toyota between August 24, 2012 and October 30, 2012 was at least $187, 070, far greater than the $5, 000 minimum requirement. Moreover, testimony by Toyota employees during trial indicated that Toyota continued to incur costs after October 30, though quantification of these costs was unnecessary given the amount of damage already established at trial.
The defendant contends that this evidence is insufficient for a rational trier of fact to conclude that the $5, 000 threshold was met. He points to the fact that the government failed to introduce "certified business records" and the fact that Exhibit 6 did "not show what was supposedly worked on, the damage that existed, how said damage was fixed, any description of the work performed or any other illuminating information." (DE 102, at 2). While it might be true that the government could have provided even more evidence to establish the damage at issue, the evidence presented at trial is sufficient on its own for a rational trier of fact to find that the losses exceeded $5, 000. Considering the testimony of the various witnesses in conjunction with ...