When a former staffer leaked explicit photos of Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, the former New York City prosecutor and Justice Department official fought back and showed why you don't mess with a woman of the law.
CNN reported that Juan McCullum stole "private, nude images and videos" off the phone of the congressional delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2016. McCullum did so by offering to "assist [the delegate] in repairing her malfunctioning, password-protected cellular phone by taking her iPhone to a local Apple store," according to court documents.
After stealing the images, McCullum created a fake email account which he used to send "at least 10" messages with the photos and videos to members of the media, other politicians and people Plaskett knew personally. The 35-year-old also created a fake Facebook account where he posted the stolen images, which, according to a Plaskett aide, included a topless photo and an "innocent" video of the delegate's husband playing dress-up with their daughter. The images found their way online last year right before the 2016 primary, which she would end up winning with 85% of the vote, according to the Washington Post.
McCullum, who identified himself as "general counsel" to Plaskett from April 2015 until June 2016 and previously appeared on the VH1 reality show I Love New York, was charged with two counts of cyberstalking. Each of those counts carries a maximum of five years in prison. A court date has not been scheduled for McCullum.
According to the Washington Post, Plaskett had not confirmed she was the congresswoman, who was previously identified as S.P. in court documents, in question until Thursday when she announced “last year, my privacy was invaded, which was followed by an organized smear campaign and defamatory press reports concerning both me and my family.”
In a statement, Plaskett thanked the Capitol Police and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia saying she was "deeply grateful" for their "thorough and in depth investigating of the crimes committed against me and those who I love.
"While we continue to be saddened by the damage we suffered as a result of those egregious acts," Plaskett added, "my family is also incredibly thankful to the people of the Virgin Islands, who have shown us tremendous care, sensitivity, and love throughout this ordeal."
Another former Plaskett staffer, Dorene Browne-Louis is also facing charges related to the leaks including obstruction for "allegedly misleading law enforcement on the case and deleting text messages from McCullum." Browne-Louis pled not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.