updated 11/9/2004 2:32:46 PM ET 2004-11-09T19:32:46

Bail was set at $1 million Monday for a North Carolina man awaiting sentencing in the nation's first felony prosecution of illegal distribution of junk e-mail, or spam.

Prosecutors had argued that Jeremy Jaynes of Raleigh is too great a flight risk to be allowed bail, saying he's been squirreling away parts of his $24 million fortune in foreign bank accounts and faces up to nine years in prison.

"This defendant has gotten away with too much for too long," said Assistant Attorney General Russell McGuire.  "We're concerned we'll never see this defendant again."

The 30-year-old Jaynes, who was jailed over the weekend following his conviction on Wednesday, appeared in court Monday in an orange jail jumpsuit and leg irons.  He had not posted bail as of Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors have said Jaynes was among the top 10 spammers in the world at the time of his arrest, using the name "Gaven Stubberfield" and other aliases to peddle junk products and pornography.  Under Virginia's law, sending unsolicited bulk e-mail itself is not a crime unless the sender masks his identity.

Circuit Court Thomas Horne set the bail, with the requirement that Jaynes submit to electronic monitoring.

A jury recommended that Jaynes get nine years in prison, a term the judge can either leave in place or reduce at the Feb. 3. sentencing.  He cannot increase it.

Jaynes's sister, Jessica DeGroot, 28, of Raleigh, was also convicted last week but received only a $7,500 fine.  A third defendant, Richard Rutkowski, 30, of Cary, N.C., was acquitted of all charges.

Jaynes' lawyer, David Oblon, said he is optimistic that either Horne will set aside the jury's verdict or that an appellate court will overturn Virginia's anti-spam law on free-speech grounds.  He also disputed prosecutors' assessment of Jaynes' wealth, saying he has a negative net worth.

Horne, who ruled against Jaynes' free-speech claims before trial, acknowledged Monday that the new Virginia law "is a novel statute" and said that some courts have held similar laws unconstitutional.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments