MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged a man with paying computer hackers to sabotage websites affiliated with his former employer in Monticello.

The FBI says the case represents a growing form of cybercrime in which professional hackers are paid to inflict damage on individuals, businesses and others who rely on digital devices connected to the web.

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Prosecutors say 46-year-old John Kelsey Gammell hired hackers to bring down Washburn Computer Group, but also made monthly payments to damage web networks connected to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Hennepin County and several banks.

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The Star Tribune reports Gammell’s attorney, Rachel Paulose, has argued her client didn’t personally attack Washburn. Paulose has asked a federal magistrate to throw out evidence the FBI obtained from an unnamed researcher because that data could have been obtained by hacking.

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