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'Cyber-bullying' sentencing delayed

LOS ANGELES, May 19 (UPI) -- A federal judge, questioning the actions of prosecutors, delayed sentencing for a woman convicted of "cyber-bullying" a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide.

U.S. District Judge George Wu said he wants to consider a defense motion to dismiss the entire case, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. Sentencing originally was scheduled Monday but has been postponed until July.

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Lori Drew, 50, of Missouri, was convicted in November of three misdemeanor charges of illegally accessing protected MySpace computers in California in 2006, but the jury deadlocked on a felony conspiracy count. Through MySpace, a social networking Web site, Drew helped her daughter create a fictional teenage boy named Josh, who corresponded with 13-year-old Megan Meier, prosecutors said.

Witnesses testified Drew ultimately intended to humiliate Meier as retribution for the teen allegedly spreading gossip about Drew's daughter. Megan hanged herself at home after "Josh's" originally friendly e-mails turned hostile, prosecutors said.

Wu questioned the prosecutors' use of a particular statute to get Drew into court, the Times said.

Wu quizzed U.S. Attorney Mark Krause about whether the government prosecuted Drew under the appropriate laws when they accused her of unauthorized access in violation of MySpace's terms of service when other MySpace users bend the truth as well under the service terms.

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Krause said Drew's acts were criminal because she signed up for the fake account with the intention of harming Meier by humiliating her. Further, the woman knew her acts were illegal and deleted the account shortly after the teen's death to hide her crime, Krause said.

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