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Cardinals Director of Scouting pleads guilty to hacking Astros

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  • Cardinals Director of Scouting pleads guilty to hacking Astros

    Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan
    The biggest one: When Astros changed database URL, Correa hacked an exec's email, got the new URL/password and accessed the database again.

    Two wows from the Chris Correa indictment:

    1) He accessed Astros' database during the '13 draft.

    2) He did the same July 31, deadline day.
    David Barron ‏@dfbarron
    Sentencing hearing for Christopher Correa is set for April 11.

    Judge Hughes has accepted the guilty plea of Christopher Correa.

    Hughes: “Did you find any Cardinals information?” Correa: “I did, your honor.”

    Federal attorneys note that Chris Correa used masking software while gaining unauthorized access to Astros’ database.

    Judge Hughes says of Chris Correa’s actions: “You broke into their house to find if they were stealing your stuff.”

    There was info on about 200 players in the Astros database, federal attorneys say.

    Fed attorneys say they came to the $1.7 mil figure based on the Astros scouting budget & number of players included in database.

    “Stupid, I know,” Christopher Correa said of his actions.

    Chris Correa says he trespassed on Astros computer system based on suspicion Astros had unauthorized Cardinals data.

    Judge Hughes whimsy to Correa: “Explain to me what Ground Control is. My son is a rocket scientist and I thought I knew.”

    “Yes, your honor, I accept responsibility for my mistakes,” Chris Correa tells Judge Hughes.

    The value of the information to which Christopher Correa gained unauthorized access has been set at $1.7 million.

    Christopher Correa will give up the right to appeal as part of the guilty plea.

    Max penalty on each of the five counts vs. Chris Correa includes up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250k and restitution.
    18 retweets 5 likes

    Christopher Correa has just pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access to computer information.

    Christopher Correa has elected not to have his case presented before a grand jury, Judge Hughes notes.

    Judge Hughes is now on the bench.

    Only one count of a criminal information, unauthorized access to computer information, was mentioned in the hearing

    US Attorney Kenneth Magidson is on hand, as is Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe.

    Christopher Correa is represented by Houston attorney David Adler.

    We await what we presume will be a hearing before Judge Lynn Hughes in which another plea will be entered in the Christopher Correa case.

    Chris Correa is expected to appear before Judge Hughes later today.

    The case has been assigned to US District Judge Lynn Hughes.

    Correa has pleaded not guilty but is expected to enter a guilty plea later today.

    He's being informed of his rights on facing a charge of unauthorized access to computer information.

    Former Cardinals exec Chris Correa is before US Magistrate Mary Milloy in Astros-Cardinals hacking case.

  • #2
    “We appreciate the thorough effort of the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in their investigation of these criminal acts,” Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe said in a team-issued statement. “It is important that we respect the process and not comment on the details at this time. This is a difficult day for all of Major League Baseball.

    The Astros refute Mr. Correa’s statement that our database contained any information that was proprietary to the St. Louis Cardinals. We have a great amount of respect for Bill DeWitt and the Cardinals organization. And, we are confident that Commissioner Manfred will guide MLB through this process in the best way possible.”

    Would have to be information from 2011 that is somehow relevant in 2013 or later? Doesn't hold water. The thief is a liar looking for justification.


    • #3
      Astros take issue with Chris Correa’s charge they took proprietary data from Cardinals
      There’s a lot still unknown even after details of Chris Correa’s illegal entries into Astros’ system came to light Friday. The full breadth of what was accessed is not public.

      His plea agreement notes that it contains a selection of instances when he illegally accessed Astros systems.

      Correa was charged by prosecutors with making unauthorized entries into the Astros’ emails and Ground Control through June 2014. But his plea deal only addressed unauthorized access through March 2014.

      The Chronicle previously reported that Astros information was accessed without authorization dating to 2012. Correa was not charged for any actions prior to 2013. The plea agreement specifies Correa began to invade the Astros’ system “no later” than 2013. No action prior to 2013 is technically ruled out.

      Was Correa a lone operator?

      He said in court Friday that he found the Astros took proprietary data from the Cardinals. When asked what he did with that information, he said he told colleagues about it.

      If either statement is true, there could be serious ramifications, but there’s been no evidence put forth to this point. The Astros immediately denied what he said.

      “He stated that he saw information on Astros database that he believed was Cardinals proprietary information,” Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe said. “And to be very clear, no one at any time with the Cardinals, or anyone associated with the Cardinals or with Major League Baseball, ever made any statement, contacted the Astros or raised any concern that anything in our database, in our network was Cardinals proprietary information.

      “In order for information to be proprietary, the person with that information must make efforts to make sure that it’s confidential. And as Mr. Correa testified today, whatever it was he saw in the Astros’ database, he reported that to the Cardinals organization, and again, the Cardinals never contacted us to raise any concern that what was in our system might be proprietary.”

      The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas said in a press release that no other personnel associated with the Cardinals organization were charged.

      MLB’s statement Friday said the league appreciated law enforcement efforts in “identifying the perpetrator of this crime,” wording that suggests there was a singular criminal.

      If Correa was searching only for information belonging to the Cardinals, the nature of what he accessed and when he did so — during the draft, at the trade deadline — would suggest he was, at least at times, looking at information to gain a competitive advantage as well, if not exclusively.

      What brought the Astros’ hacking scandal into the forefront originally Deadspin’s acquisition of trade proposals that had been leaked online, which Deadspin posted in June 2014. Who was responsible for letting that information leak so that Deadspin could find it was not addressed Friday.

      How Chris Correa hacked the Astros’ system and emails at crucial times

      Chris Correa was incisive for a time but ultimately sloppy when he illegally breached the Astros online systems, doing so by his admission for at least a year’s time, from 2013-14.

      He hacked into both employee emails and the team’s database of baseball information, nicknamed “Ground Control,” court documents show. Fired over the summer, the former Cardinals employee acted with the intent to mask his identity and location.

      His most audacious work likely came on a single day nearly two years ago.

      Correa used unauthorized access to the email account of one Astros executive to gain entry to another Astros executive’s “Ground Control” account on March 10, 2014.

      Correa did so roughly one day after the Astros tried to change the log-in system to Ground Control to prevent exactly these sorts of intrusions — intrusions which, unbeknownst to the Astros at the time, were commonplace for Correa.

      Clutch moments

      Correa, the former Cardinals scouting director, started to hack into the Astros no later than March, 24, 2013, and in his plea deal he copped to doing so through at least the following March.

      On Friday afternoon in Houston, Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access to Astros computer information. He is to be sentenced April 11.

      Correa browsed Ground Control, a private repository containing everything from scouting reports to trade notes, at some of the most crucial days on the baseball calendar.

      On the final day of three in the June 2013 amateur draft, Correa looked at Astros notes on players who had yet to be drafted. He also accessed information on players the Cardinals themselves had drafted a day earlier.

      Then, at the July 31, 2013 non-waiver trade deadline — the day all teams are looking to wheel and deal and looking for leverage — Correa went into Ground Control and viewed notes of Astros trade talks.

      What he did the following spring, however, may take the cake.

      Reportage from the ground

      Ground Control’s existence was not known publicly until the Chronicle wrote a Sunday feature story explaining the system in March 2014. The story went live online the night of March 8, 2014.

      At the time, Ground Control was accessible at a basic online URL — — with a user name and password.

      As the Chronicle story circulated and the URL was discovered by the public (it was visible in an online photo with the story but was also searchable, the Astros detected attempts to log into their system, general manager Jeff Luhnow said on the morning of March 9.

      The Astros started to change their log-in system on March 9, both the URL and passwords. Fearing employees wouldn’t change passwords in time to prevent intrusion, the team reset all passwords to a complex, default password. That password was emailed — as was the new URL — to all Ground Control users, per court documents.

      On the evening of March 10, Correa logged into the email account of one Astros exec and found the emails that had Ground Control’s new URL and password. Minutes later, Correa used that information to access another exec’s Ground Control account.

      Using that account, Correa viewed 118 webpages, including the then-incomplete 2014 draft board, plus evaluations of international prospects the Astros were considering.

      The next morning, March 11, Correa went into the same Ground Control account he did the previous night — as well as a Ground Control account of a third person.

      Victims A and B

      The executives whose accounts Correa primarily accessed are not identified by name in the court documents other than “Victim A” and “Victim B” — but Correa accessed at least the Ground Control accounts of an unspecified number of others as well, including a Victim C.

      Victims A and B are characterized in the documents as executives who were were focused on analytics and were with the Cardinals organization until late 2011 before joining the Astros.

      Luhnow was hired away from the Cardinals in December 2011, and Sig Mejdal — another ex-Cards employee — was one of Luhnow’s first hires, reported to have joined the organization on Jan. 3, 2012.

      (Mike Elias, now the team’s director of amateur scouting, also joined the Astros in January 2012, but is more accurately described as specializing in scouting than analytics.)

      Everything begins with Victim A, who preparing to leave for the Astros in December 2011 and was instructed to turn his laptop over to Correa. Victim A gave the Cardinals the password he used as well.

      Victim A then used “a similar (albeit obscure) password,” per court documents, for both his Astros’ email and Ground Control accounts.

      No later than March 2013 — with this variant of the Cardinals laptop password still valid — Correa hacked in to both Victim A’s email and Ground Control accounts.

      “I absolutely know about password hygiene and best practices,” Luhnow told Sports Illustrated in the summer. “I’m certainly aware of how important passwords are, as well as of the importance of keeping them updated. A lot of my job in baseball, as it was in high tech, is to make sure that intellectual property is protected. I take that seriously and hold myself and those who work for me to a very high standard.”

      Victim A’s password is used in the majority of Correa’s early listed entries.

      On March 24, 2013, Correa was on Victim A’s Ground Control portal for one hour, 43 minutes, looking through a swath of Astros draft information. It was Victim A’s account that was accessed on June 8, 2013, the third day of the draft; and again on July 31, 2013, trade deadline day.

      When the Astros tried to change their passwords in March 2014, Correa turned to Victim A’s email account to get into Victim B’s Ground Control credentials.

      Victim C’s account was breached then as well.

      In June, security experts — working with what was known at the time — said neither the Astros nor their then-unknown intruder(s) had the most sophisticated plans.

      It’s up to MLB to determine if more punishment for Cardinals

      Compensation for the Astros, punishment for the Cardinals — or both — in light of Chris Correa’s illegal hacking of the Astros’ systems is expected to come not via the courts, but through baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, who can play the the role of arbitrator.

      A civil suit is not be filed by one club against another, per MLB rules. That doesn’t mean a team couldn’t challenge those rules, but the Astros do not plan to. (If a team does take another team to court, it’s on the hook for the legal fees of the plaintiff, per the rules.)

      “We have a great amount of respect for Bill DeWitt and the Cardinals organization,” Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe said in a statement after Correa, an ex-Cards employee, pleaded guilty Friday to hacking the Astros. “And, we are confident that Commissioner Manfred will guide MLB through this process in the best way possible.”

      MLB did not conduct its own investigation into the Cardinals’ hacking scandal (although the Cardinals undertook an internal investigation), choosing to wait to see what authorities turned up — and if they would share their information.

      There’s optimism the Department of Justice will provide its findings.

      “We anticipate that the authorities will share with us the results of their investigation at the appropriate time,” the league said in a statement. “We will determine what further actions to take after receiving all the relevant information.”

      The commissioner’s power to punish a team ranges from issuing a reprimand; barring a club from major league meetings; suspending or removing any team owner, officer or employee; levying a fine that can’t exceed $2,000,000 in the case of a club, and no more than $500,000 in the case of an owner, officer or employee.

      But the $2,000,000 figure is a cap on punishments — not on damages that can be awarded to another team. There is no limit on what the Astros could receive in a dispute brought to the commissioner.

      (That $2,000,000 figure is merely the most the Cardinals could be fined for actions “deemed by the Commissioner not to be in the best interests of Baseball,” per the league constitution.)

      The commissioner too can take away the benefit of any or all major league rules — which include, notably, the Rule 4 and 5 drafts. The Rule 4 draft is better known as the amateur draft. The rules too allow for other unspecified, punishments as the commissioner sees fit.

      The Astros’ loss was determined to be $1.7 million in the plea deal, a figure based in part on their annual amateur scouting budget. It’s unclear how impactful that figure will be in MLB’s expected proceedings, but the math negotiated in Correa’s prosecution may be different than the math determined in a hypothetical MLB remediation process.


      • #4
        Ex-Cardinals exec to be sentenced in Astros hacking case
        By David Barron
        Although federal guidelines allow judges considerable sentencing leeway, a former federal prosecutor says former St. Louis Cardinals executive Christopher Correa could face a prison term of more than three years Monday for his guilty plea to gaining unauthorized access to the Astros' computer database.

        Correa, 35, the Cardinals' former director of baseball development, will appear at 1:30 p.m. Monday before U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes. Correa pleaded guilty in January, and his sentencing hearing has three times been delayed prior to Monday's scheduled appearance.

        Hughes is known for his judicial independence, said Houston attorney Philip Hilder, who formerly was in charge of the Houston office of the Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force and worked with the Presidential Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

        But based on Hilder's knowledge of federal sentencing formulas, he predicted the former Cardinals executive will face a sentence of 36 to 47 months.

        "He is looking at real time," Hilder said.

        Correa faces a maximum penalty of not more than five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each of five felony counts to which he pleaded guilty. Prosecutors agreed the sentences will be served concurrently, and Correa must pay more than $279,000 in restitution.

        Hilder's sentencing estimate is based on a points system that takes into account such factors as criminal history, the level of sophistication involved in the offense, and the amount of monetary damages.

        In the Astros' case, federal prosecutors have set the amount of damages at $1.7 million. Also, because Correa is the only person who has pleaded guilty, there is no opportunity for a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against another defendant.

        "Judge Hughes will look at several factors, including social history, what the defendant has done in his life, and will take that into consideration," Hilder said. "He is not one to be tied to sentencing guidelines. He will make what he feels is the best decision and will not be tied to formulaic equations.

        "The guidelines allow for judges to do a personal evaluation and consider unique characteristics in rendering sentences. I would anticipate that will be done here."

        The government filed a pre-sentence report and sentencing recommendation in late June, but that document is sealed from public view. Also sealed is an objection to the pre-sentence report.

        Correa's Houston attorney, David Adler, has not returned several telephone calls requesting comment on the case.

        Correa said during the January guilty plea hearing that he suspected the Astros were in possession of Cardinals proprietary information and believes he found such information in the Astros' system. The Astros subsequently refuted that allegation. In April, Hughes denied a motion that would have allowed Correa to subpoena documents from the Astros.

        Correa faces the prospect of prison time; the Cardinals also could face action from Major League Baseball. Commissioner Rob Manfred said an MLB decision might depend on what if any information his office is able to obtain from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office.

        "There are limits to what any private organization can do from an investigative perspective," Manfred said. "Those limits are particularly glaring in the case of electronic breaches. If you can't subpoena those, you can't really find out what happened.

        "So we have adopted the one course that we believe is available to us, and that is to wait to see what facts come out in the sentencing hearing of Mr. Correa and hope - and I use that word purposely - that (after) that sentencing hearing, both Mr. Correa and the U.S. Attorney is more willing to share with us facts that would allow us to make a good decision."

        According to the charges filed against Correa, he gained access to the email account of at least one Astros employee and at least two accounts in the Ground Control database, using a password formerly used by a Cardinals employee now employed by the Astros - presumably, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.

        Among the information Correa obtained, according to prosecutors, was the Astros' rankings for 2013-14 draft-eligible players, a weekly digest focused on top prospects, and proposed signing bonuses for some draft-eligible players.

        Correa also intruded into the database during the June 2013 amateur draft, prior to the July 31, 2013, MLB trade deadline and in March 2014.


        • #5

          David Barron @dfbarron
          Christopher Correa will have two to six weeks before he must report.

          Judge Hughes has set Christopher Correa's sentence at 46 months.
          Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26
          US attorney Kenneth Magidson says investigation involving hacking into #Astros computers complete. There will be no further indictments.


          • #6
            Ex-Cardinals executive Christopher Correa gets 46-month sentence for hacking Astros
            By David Barron
            Former St. Louis Cardinals executive Christopher Correa was sentenced Monday to 46 months in prison for illegal incursions into the Astros' computer database, wrapping up a case of sports-related cybercrime that a federal judge summed up as plain, old-fashioned theft.

            Correa, 35, will report within two to six weeks to begin his sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, who accepted the government's recommended sentence in the wake of Correa's guilty plea in January to five counts of illegal access to a protected computer.

            ALSO SEE: Court transcript highlights case details of Astros hack

            Now the case moves into the hands of Major League Baseball, where commissioner Rob Manfred will decide if the Cardinals will face sanctions because of Correa's actions in 2013 and 2014.

            Manfred also may be asked to consider a heretofore undisclosed element: that Correa intruded into the Astros' system 60 times on 35 days, far more the five reported cases to which he pleaded guilty, according to an Astros official.

            Correa, who was the Cardinals' director of baseball development, was alternately counseled and lectured by Hughes before a crowded courtroom that included several members of his family.

            As he read a letter apologizing to the court, to the Astros and to his family, Hughes told him to face his family and "look at them when you say that. Don't tell me."

            "I apologize to my family for the pain and suffering I've cost," Correa said. "I will work hard to regain your trust. I stand before you a different person than the one" who committed the crime.

            But even as Correa admitted his wrongdoing, Hughes interjected his own descriptions of the defendant's actions – "intentionally, over a long period of time, stupidly."

            ALSO SEE: How Christopher Correa hacked the Astros at crucial times

            Hughes also addressed Correa's contention at the January plea hearing that he accessed the Astros' player database because he suspected that the Astros possessed Cardinals proprietary information.

            "There was discussion about what a bunch of awful people the Astros are, and all that well could be true," Hughes said. "But you're back to middle school when the teacher said, 'Did you throw that eraser?' and you said, 'Bobby did, too.'

            "I hope it didn't work then, because it's not going to work now."

            In his letter read to the court, Correa was contrite, apologetic and did not address his previous allegations about the Astros.

            "I broke the law. I violated my values, and it was wrong," he said. "I behaved shamefully. This episode represents the worst thing I have done in my life by far ... and I am overwhelmed with remorse and regret."

            Hughes says the victim in this case is "trust in American society" and compared Correa to one who falsifies medical records or uses cybercrime to clean out bank accounts.

            He said cybercrime "makes it harder for honest people to go about their daily lives, and I'm not talking about people like (Astros owner Jim Crane) and the big shots. A lot of peoples' lives are adversely affected by the additional cost it takes to defend themselves against people like you."

            Hughes told Correa to "make some sound choices" and avoid jealousy, anger, lust, envy – "all those things that are why people do things they shouldn't do. Get those under control."

            Houston attorney and former prosecutor Philip Hilder, who predicted Correa would face as much as four years in prison, based on federal sentencing guidelines, said the actual 46-month term was higher than he expected for a first-time offender.

            "It is within the guideline range, but a bit higher than anticipated for a first time offender," Hilder said. "Usually, a defendant in a similar situation would receive a sentence on the lower end of the range, but here a bit more time was given in order to use this as a teachable anti hacking lesson that will act as a deterrence to others. This being a high profile case worked against Mr. Correa."

            U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said he was pleased with length of the sentence. Correa could have been sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison on each count, although prosecutors agreed in return for his guilty plea that sentences would be served concurrently.

            "This is a serious federal crime," Magidson said. "It involves computer crime, cybercrime. We in the U.S. Attorney's office look to all crimes that are being committed by computers to gain an unfair advantage. ... This is a very serious offense, and obviously the court saw it as well."

            Correa's attorney, David Adler of Houston, had no comment on the sentence.

            Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe, who also attended the hearing, described Monday as a "sad day for baseball" and emphasized that the Astros were the victims of Correa's unauthorized access into a computer database that included scouting reports and other information.

            Referring to Correa's statements in January, he added, "I don't know what Mr. Correa saw in our system or what he thinks he saw in our system, but what I can tell you is that the Astros were not using Cardinals' proprietary information."

            Kibbe, for the first time, also acknowledged that Correa's intrusions into the Astros computer system were more frequently than the instances set out in the information to which he pleaded guilty – 60 intrusions over 35 days, he said, from March 2013 through June 2014.

            He also said the Astros would rely on Major League Baseball to complete its investigation of the Cardinals, with the possibility of sanctions against the team.

            "We have full faith in his actions," he said, referring to MLB commissioner Manfred.

            Magidson, meanwhile, said that MLB is welcome to request information on the case from federal investigators but must go through the same open records request process as a private citizen would be required to do.

            In addition to prison time, Correa also faces two years of supervised release and a fine of about $279,000.


            • #7
              Ortiz: Prison term for hacking further sullies Cardinals' reputation
              St. Louis Post-Dispatch
              General manager John Mozeliak and owner Bill DeWitt Jr. don’t actually peddle the holier-than-thou reputation that some fans have attached to the Cardinals. If you buy into that myth, stop reading now because you won’t like this column.

              The so-called Cardinal Way is a tarnished fantasy, if not a farce.

              The Cardinals’ reputation was sullied further when former scouting director Christopher Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison for hacking the Astros’ Ground Control proprietary database.

              DeWitt should be embarrassed, and so should Mozeliak.

              It says something about the seriousness of Correa’s crime that U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes gave Correa the exact sentence the federal prosecutors requested.

              Fortunately for the Cardinals, the Justice Department didn’t find enough evidence to charge other club officials after the FBI opened its probe almost two years ago.

              It boggles the mind, however, to believe that not one of Correa’s bosses ever knew that he had been hacking the Astros. It’s important to remember that Correa testified in January that he told Cardinals “colleagues” that he found some of the franchise’s proprietary material in the Astros’ database.

              So, yes, we already know that he claims to have told Cardinals employees that he hacked the Astros’ system. Yet, somehow the Cardinals would like you to believe that all the “colleagues” Correa told kept their bosses in the dark about his cyber crimes.

              If you believe that, I have a great deal for you on the Arch I bought after I moved to St. Louis. Correa hacked into the Astros’ system more than 60 times from March 2013 through June 2014.

              This is not a case of a young clubhouse attendant playing a prank. Correa was a high-ranking Cardinals employee charged with stocking the club’s farm system.

              This is the guy Mozeliak promoted to scouting director. How much did assistant general manager Michael Girsch, who was Correa’s spring training roommate in Jupiter, Fla., know? How much did Correa’s other spring training roommates learn about his hacking exploits?

              If you’ve ever been around baseball folks for any length of time, you know they love to talk. It’s no secret that Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, a former Cardinals scouting director, was despised by many in his former organization.

              Many folks in baseball despise Luhnow. He’s not your traditional baseball guy. He doesn’t apologize for his business background. Quite simply, he’s an outsider in an industry that hates outsiders.

              Correa, who set out to embarrass Luhnow, has claimed that he hacked into the Astros’ database because he thought Luhnow stole proprietary material from the Cardinals.

              Can we really believe that he didn’t share any of his findings with his supervisors? We tried to ask Mozeliak about this subject. “Sorry cannot comment,” he texted back.

              Correa “did it over 60 times,” Astros counsel Giles Kibbe said. “It was a repeated and extended intrusion into our system that he was doing to benefit his position with the Cardinals. ... He had access to everything we had.”

              There are many questions to be asked of Mozeliak and DeWitt. The Cardinals’ organization hid behind a statement Monday.

              “While today’s sentencing of Chris Correa marks the end of the Government’s investigation, we also understand that the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball will now conduct its own investigation of this matter,” DeWitt said in his statement. “ As we did with the Government during its investigation, we intend to fully cooperate with the Commissioner’s Office in connection with its investigation so that this matter can finally be resolved. Pending the outcome of the Commissioner’s investigation, we will have no further comment.”

              Major League Baseball also issued a statement acknowledging that Commissioner Rob Manfred has ordered an investigation into the hacking scandal.

              “The Commissioner hopes that the investigation can be completed promptly to put him in a position to take appropriate action,” MLB’s statement said.

              Correa, who was pursuing a doctorate degree from the University of Michigan when he was hired by the Cardinals in 2009, rose quickly. He advanced to manager of baseball development in 2012. He began hacking the Astros in March 2013 and then earned a promotion to director of baseball development after that season.

              Then in December 2014, he was promoted to director of scouting. If you’re prone to see things through red-colored glasses, you might be willing to believe that Correa hid his cyber crime from his bosses so he could continue to climb up the Cardinals organization by peddling the Astros’ ideas as his own.

              You would have to take a huge leap to see things that way, but none of this makes any sense. Whatever the case, the Astros clearly expect Manfred to force the Cardinals to compensate them for Correa’s crimes.

              Manfred “is going to make a ruling at the completion of his investigation. I’m sure he will take action,” Kibbe said.

              At his sentencing hearing Monday in Houston, Correa apologized to his family for the pain and suffering he caused them.

              He should also apologize to every person who helped make the Cardinals one of the greatest organizations in baseball history since 1892.

              Correa has sullied the Cardinals’ mystique. He had his day of reckoning Monday. The Cardinals now await their day of reckoning with Manfred, who is expected to fine DeWitt’s proud organization and perhaps even take away some draft picks.

              Even the most myopic Cardinals fan can see the organization has been sullied.


              • #8
                MLB 'in the final 10 yards' of investigation into Cardinals' hacking

                By Jake Kaplan
                SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred indicated Wednesday a decision regarding potential punishment for the St. Louis Cardinals stemming from the Cardinals-Astros hacking scandal is nearing.

                "If it were a 100-yard game, we're in the final 10 yards of the St. Louis situation," Manfred said at the MLB General Managers meetings.

                Manfred previously stated a resolution would come this offseason. Christopher Correa, the former Cardinals executive who hacked the Astros' computer system, was sentenced in July to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty in January to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to 2014.

                "The time has come to put this one behind us," Manfred said. "I am anxious to do that."


                • #9
                  As MLB ruling nears, new details of Cardinals' hacking of Astros account

                  By David Barron and Jake Kaplan, Houston Chronicle
                  A federal judge has unsealed details about former St. Louis Cardinals executive Chris Correa's hacking of the Astros' email and player evaluation databases, clearing the way for Major League Baseball to impose sanctions against the Cardinals as soon as this week.

                  Three documents entered into court records but made public by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Thursday reveal new information regarding Correa's intrusions, for which the former Cardinals scouting director is serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty in January 2016 to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer.

                  The Cardinals fired Correa in 2015 after an internal investigation into the hacking reports but are still subject to sanctions from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

                  Some details of Correa's actions were disclosed during the July 2016 sentencing hearing, but others remained undisclosed to the public until Hughes' order to unseal the documents.

                  According to the documents, portions of which remained redacted, Correa intruded into the Astros' "Ground Control" database 48 times and accessed the accounts of five Astros employees. For 21/2 years, beginning in January 2012, Correa had unfettered access to the e-mail account of Sig Mejdal, the Astros' director of decision sciences and a former Cardinals employee. Correa worked in St. Louis as an analyst under Mejdal, who came to Houston after the 2011 season with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, also a former Cardinals executive.

                  "(Correa) knew what projects the Astros' analytics department was researching, what concepts were promising and what ideas to avoid," said one of the documents, signed by Michael Chu, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case against Correa. "He had access to everything that Sig Mejdal ... read and wrote."




                  Correa also attempted to gain access to the accounts of Bo Porter, the Astros' manager in 2013-14, and pitching coach Brent Strom, and he used passwords belonging to Luhnow, Astros analyst Colin Wyers, and three Astros minor league players to gain access to the Astros system, the documents show.

                  A third document includes a subpoena from Correa's attorney to obtain documents from the Astros, based on Correa's statement that he was combing the files looking for information taken from the Cardinals. Hughes denied the request, which sought access to emails from Mejdal, Luhnow and former Astros assistant GM David Stearns and analyst Mike Fast regarding a variety of topics, including Cardinals minor league pitching coach Tim Leveque, Cardinals assistant general manager Mike Girsch and the Cardinals' player information database, known as RedBirdDog.

                  While the Astros declined comment on the bulk of the material unsealed, the team's general counsel, Giles Kibbe, said Saturday, "As we have previously stated, we did not have any of the Cardinals' proprietary information in Ground Control or our database. What these documents confirm is that Mr. Correa was illegally accessing Ground Control in order to assist in evaluating players that the Cardinals wanted."

                  The unsealed government sentencing report details the degree to which Correa used information from the Astros to influence the Cardinals' draft and trade decisions. Prosecutors also noted that several months after his intrusions from March 2013 through June 2014, Correa in December 2014 received a promotion from the Cardinals.

                  Documents also reflect the degree to which Correa was motivated by jealousy of the attention Mejdal received from Sports Illustrated for the Astros' data-driven attitudes toward scouting and player development. A June 2014 cover of SI famously pronounced the Astros, then coming off three consecutive 100-plus loss seasons, as "Your 2017 World Series champs."

                  "Mejdal was one of Correa's rivals," Chu wrote, noting that the two had "heated discussions" when both worked for the Cardinals. "And now, this rival was being praised, even though his team had not yet begun to win."

                  Prosecutors offered other insights into Correa's motivations. On April 3, 2013, two months before that year's amateur draft - the second of three consecutive years in which the Astros had the No. 1 overall pick - Correa accessed the Astros' list of players they considered drafting, ranked in preferential order, the document shows. He also accessed the scouting observations of Astros amateur scouting director Mike Elias, national cross-checker David Post and regional scout Brian St. Pierre.

                  That same day, Correa checked the Astros' latest reports on Marco Gonzales, a lefthanded pitcher from Gonzaga who two months later the Cardinals drafted with the 19th overall pick, and Brandon Trinkwon, a shortstop from UC Santa Barbara. Trinkwon became a seventh-round pick, 214th overall, of the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the 215th overall selection, the Cardinals drafted a different shortstop, a Southern California high schooler named Chris Rivera.

                  On April 30, 2013, Correa accessed the Astros' reports on Hunter Dozier, a third baseman from Stephen F. Austin who became the eighth overall pick, by the Kansas City Royals. In addition to examining the hitting reports compiled by Elias and an Astros area scout, Correa viewed the signing bonuses the Astros recommended Dozier be offered if selected.

                  Correa intruded again the day before the June draft, revisiting the Astros' preferentially ranked list of draft prospects and also viewing the Astros' page for the Cardinals, their main scouting page and their notes as it related to trade discussions with the Cardinals.

                  On the third and final day of the draft, Correa filtered through the Astros' rankings of still-available players and reports on two players in particular: Washington State third baseman Adam Nelubowich, whom the Astros drafted in the 18th round, and University of Texas second baseman Erich Weiss, whom the Pittsburgh Pirates took in the 11th round.

                  The document also shows Correa before the draft accessed private medical records the Astros had collected for Gonzales and two first basemen whom the Astros later drafted, Conrad Gregor (fourth round) and Chase McDonald (12th round).

                  Chu also wrote Correa studied the Astros' trade notes "at least 14 times" as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approached and again before the annual general managers' meetings and winter meetings the following offseason.

                  "Ultimately, Correa was not intruding to see if the Astros took any information — rather, he was keenly focused on information that coincided with the work he was doing for the Cardinals," Chu concluded.

                  Chu wrote that even if Correa hid his activity from his Cardinals colleagues, "his access to the Astros' information was still invaluable. Before he proposed an idea, he could quietly check what another analytics-minded organization thought. He also could supplement his own ideas with the ideas of the Astros' analytics department because he knew what projects the Astros' analytics department was researching, what concepts they found promising, what ideas they had discarded."

                  Chu also disclosed in the sentencing report his belief that "it must have been Correa" who leaked confidential Astros information to concerning 10 months of Astros confidential trade discussions after also posting details to and, two bulletin boards that allow anonymous posting of data.

                  As a result of the Deadspin leak, the prosecutor wrote, "general managers through Major League Baseball were forced to awkwardly reassure their players. ... Ultimately, the Astros were forced to issue private apologies to every team in the league. It was a humiliating episode for the Astros."

                  MLB officials for months have contemplated sanctions against the Cardinals for Correa's deep dives into details of Astros player evaluations, scouting files and trade discussions but were stymied by lack of access to details of certain documents, including the government's sentencing recommendation for Correa, that were placed under seal.

                  Hughes, federal prosecutors and Correa's attorney met Dec. 8 to discuss unsealing the documents, and Hughes did so on Thursday.