Notorious computer hacker Kevin Mitnick, captured this year in North Carolina after a nationwide electronic manhunt, has agreed to a plea bargain that will allow him to serve less than a year in prison in exchange for a guilty plea to one of 23 charges that he faced in connection with his most recent hacking spree, his attorney said Saturday.
But federal prosecutors in North Carolina said that Mitnick, 31, a former North Hills resident who was arrested in the Raleigh area Feb. 15, is likely to face additional charges elsewhere.
Mitnick's California attorney confirmed Saturday that Mitnick has agreed to plead guilty to a single count and will serve a maximum of eight months in prison. But the 23 charges he faced involve only the cellular phone fraud that Mitnick is alleged to have committed during his few weeks in the Raleigh area just before his capture.
In California, Mitnick could face charges stemming from probation violations. After serving a year in prison for previous hacking-related crimes, Mitnick agreed to enter a counseling program to help him curb his illegal computer compulsions. But he fled before he finished treatment and before the FBI could question him about more hacking allegations.
There could also be additional charges in California, or Colorado and Seattle--two places Mitnick is believed to have stayed while running from authorities--although none have yet been filed.
"There have been ongoing discussions with the U.S. attorney's office" in Los Angeles, said John Yzurdiaga, Mitnick's attorney in Southern California.
Mitnick spent more than two years running from the FBI for his alleged computerized break-ins before being captured in North Carolina. He was charged with 21 counts of using cloned phones, one count of possessing equipment for cloning cellular phones and one count of possessing 15 or more stolen cellular telephone numbers.
Yzurdiaga said Mitnick has agreed to plead guilty to the charge of possessing stolen phone numbers. The others charges, Yzurdiaga said, will be dropped.