Kurt Eichenwald, PayPal And Sockpuppets

Okay. So last week, a writer over at lefty mag CounterPunch found out that Kurt Eichenwald of Portfolio/Times fame made additional cash payments to Justin Berry, the operator of a porn site with underage teens whom he wrote a story about in 2005. We reported on that and wondered about the puzzling aspects of the case.

Now, thankfully (or not), the New York Times reported on the cash amounts involved earlier this week:

“Several people involved in the court case say the sealed documents indicate that Mr. Eichenwald made at least $1,100 of additional payments in June 2005, some not in his own name, to a PayPal account controlled by Mr. Berry and another man who helped him operate his Web site. These people spoke on the condition of anonymity… “I have no independent memory of any payments I am alleged to have made in June 2005 through PayPal,” he (Eichenwald) said in a written statement yesterday. “If these PayPal payments did occur in June 2005, I am deeply sorry that my inability to remember them has resulted in permitting a series of convicted felons to cast doubt on the nature of my wife’s and my efforts to save a young man who was caught in the grip of a cycle of drugs and abuse.” He has said he gave the $2,000 payment not as a reporter but as a person concerned that Mr. Berry was in danger from sexual predators. It was a month later, he has said, that he began to pursue the young man’s story as a journalist.
He did not disclose the financial connection to his editors while working on the articles, and Mr. Eichenwald has said that he simply forgot it. He also said that because the money was repaid, it was not an issue… The subpoenas produced material that appears to show several instances of money sent by Mr. Eichenwald, sometimes under another name, to a PayPal account controlled by Mr. Berry and an older business partner, Greg Mitchel. Mr. Mitchel pleaded guilty to child pornography charges last year.”

Eichenwald used the name “Andrew McDonald” to make these PayPal payments and Daniel Radosh has dug up some interesting info about Eichenwald using that name as a sockpuppet previously. And the whole damn saga continues…

— Neal Ungerleider