Photo Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images
Christopher Chaney, the man arrested for hacking into the email accounts of 50 people, including celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis, has confessed -- and apologized. In a video interview with a CNN affiliate in Florida, the Jacksonville resident says that his activities stemmed from "curiosity" and turned into an addiction. (Think there's a 12-step program for that?) Watch the interview below.
"It started as curiosity and it turned into just being addicted to seeing behind the scenes of what was going on with these people you see on the big screen every day," explained Chaney, 35. "And I was almost relieved months ago when (the FBI) came in, took my computer and told me what was going on, that they knew -- because I didn't know how to stop doing it myself."
The hacker is accused of leaking nude celebrity pictures, obtained through the stolen email addresses, onto the Internet. But in the video, he claims that he didn't deliberately leak the photos -- nor did he intend to sell them or use them for blackmail purposes. Rather, Chaney says he only intended the emails for his own private viewing.
"It was almost like reading a completely uncensored blog," he says.
And when he puts it like that, we understand why he couldn't look away. But that's no excuse for stealing people's private info. At least Chaney seems to understand that what he did was wrong.
"I deeply apologize. I know what I did was probably one of the worst invasions of privacy someone could experience," Chaney admits. "And these people don't have privacy to begin with. And I was in that little sliver of privacy they do have."
Sounds like Scarlett Johansson's press conference made an impact on him. Chaney -- who was indicted on 26 total charges (nine counts of computer hacking for gain, eight counts of aggravated indentity theft and nine counts of illegal wiretapping) -- has been released on $10,000 bail and has a court hearing set for Friday. If convicted of all 26 charges, he faces a maximum of 121 years in prison and a mandatory two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft alone.