Judge refuses to lower Childs bail

July 23, 2008 7:30:08 PM PDT
A judge refused to lower the $5 million dollar bail of a city worker accused of illegally tampering with San Francisco's computer network. Terry Childs is still in jail on Wednesday, despite personally handing over the access code to the mayor. ABC7 spoke with one of the people in the room with the mayor and Childs when that password was handed over.

On Monday Terry Childs' attorney phoned San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom promising to hand over the computer codes that would finally unlock the city's system.

"The impression we got was that Terry Childs was only going to trust the mayor with the codes," said Nathan Ballard, Mayor Newsom's communications director.

Newsom went to the jail accompanied only by Ballard. Ballard was in the room during the 15 minute conversation. He says Childs was polite.

"And then Childs took the mayor's notes and wrote out the codes and then slid the paper across the table and the codes ended up working," said Ballard.

"Can you tell us more about the conversation? Did he say anything like, "I don't want to be portrayed as..." asked ABC7's Lyanne Melendez.

"Well, here's the thing. I am now a witness in the case, the mayor is a witness in the case so I don't want to get into the details, but that's the gist of it," said Ballard.

Despite that, a San Francisco judge refused to lower his bail which stands at $5 million dollars. Childs' attorney says she's disappointed.

"Particularly in a case like this, where the facts are very complicated, you want the person out so they can help you prepare and the person is severely disadvantaged by not being released," said Erin Crane, Childs' attorney.

City officials says the computer tech gave himself unlimited access to the city's network while locking out the city's computer experts.

"It's like we had the keys to the car, we could drive the car, but the mechanic couldn't get into the hood, under the hood," said Ballard.

On Wednesday, the District Attorney revealed new information accusing Childs of wanting to completely devastate the city's entire computer network.

A routine power outage was scheduled for July 19 to test the entire system.

The district attorney's office says Childs programmed five of the city's network routers to run off of ram. That means everything would have been wiped out, but by then Childs was in jail and the power outage was canceled.

The city has now regained access to the system.


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