RollingStone.com reports that Kevin Cogill, the blogger who was arrested by the FBI last week for leaking nine unreleased GUNS N' ROSES tracks, has broken his silence on his web site. In a new post, Cogill reveals that he has retained the services of attorney David J.P. Kaloyanides, who works with "many indigent clients who cannot afford to hire their own lawyer," according to his web site. Cogill has set up a PayPal account on his site to raise funds for his defense. He also plans on auctioning his Gibson Les Paul BFG guitar. "[Battling these charges] has definitely been by far the biggest expense I have ever faced in my entire life," he writes. "My resources are very limited while formidable costs shall continue to pile up. It’s beyond daunting, being a single independent citizen facing a full-force prosecution by the most powerful government in the world." If convicted Cogill faces a possible five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. A preliminary hearing is booked for September 17.
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Ex-GUNS N' ROSES and current VELVET REVOLVER lead guitarist Slash slammed Cogill in a recent interview, telling the Los Angeles Times, "I hope he rots in jail. It's going to affect the sales of the record, and it's not fair. The Internet is what it is, and you have to deal with it accordingly, but I think if someone goes and steals something, it's theft."
Cogill was charged under a three-year-old federal anti-piracy law that makes it a felony to distribute a copyrighted work on computer networks before its release. He was released on $10,000 bail.
Assistant U.S. attorney Craig Missakian, who pursued the case with the FBI and recording industry, said, "In the past, these may have been viewed as victimless crimes. But in reality, there's significant damage."
Cogill posted the songs at a web site called Antiquiet, where they were available for public access. The site crashed from the amount of traffic it received once word of the leaked tracks got out. Cogill took them down again after he was contacted by representatives of GUNS N' ROSES.
The tracks were allegedly taken from the band's yet-to-be-released "Chinese Democracy" album. Cogill, who used to work in distribution for the group's record label, says he received them from an anonymous source.
GUNS N' ROSES issued a statement saying, "Though we don't support this guy's actions at that level, our interest is in the original source. We can't comment publicly at this time as the investigation is ongoing."
Kevin Cogill spoke to Sky News's Martin Stanford in June 2008 for a three-and-a-half-minute report which can be viewed below.