Federal cyberstalking charges were filed in June 2020 against six former eBay officials. Recently it was announced that four of those charged will enter guilty pleas. Prosecutors haven’t charged former chief executive officer Devin Wenig but say his emails and texts to eBay employees lashing out at the Natick, Massachusetts, blogger triggered the scheme.
The four – Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, Stephanie Stockwell and Veronica Zea – will also admit to conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, according to a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in Boston. Their lawyers didn’t immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment on the decision to plead guilty. Lawyers for Baugh and Harville didn’t return calls seeking comment. Through a spokeswoman, Wenig declined to comment.
Devin Wenig last year texted a colleague expressing worry and anger over unflattering coverage in the blog and other news media. What followed, prosecutors said, was a criminal plot by his underlings to hound the couple into silence. While there’s no suggestion in court papers that Wenig knew of the plot, his communications play a central role in the government’s narrative of the case. “Take her down,” Wenig is alleged to have written in response to a post by the blogger.
Court records also indicate that prosecutors have already recruited at least three additional confidential witnesses who knew of the scheme.
The witness-tampering charge against the four stems from prosecutors’ claim that they lied to Natick police during the department’s early investigation in August of 2019. Text messages show the conspirators chatting about how to deceive the police.
“The cops obviously have nothing else to do in Natick,” Gilbert texted Baugh, according to the charging documents. He said “the targets have been very impacted by this op. Perfect time for next phase,” according to prosecutors. “These people are wasting our time,” Baugh responded, according to the documents. “It’s go time.”