MSP probing alleged hack of GOP Senate hopeful

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing – The Michigan State Police Cyber Command Center is investigating an alleged hack of U.S. Senate candidate Lena Epstein’s Twitter account after she was accused of “liking” posts by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The cyber crimes unit has “an active investigation into this matter,” state police spokeswoman Shanon Banner told The Detroit News on Monday. “No other information is being released at this time.”

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon and others last week circulated screenshots showing Epstein’s account had liked posts by Duke championing the “alt-right” and First Amendment in the wake of deadly violence at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Epstein, who is Jewish, denied the activity and demanded an apology.

Her campaign on Monday released “investigative findings” from a private firm in Royal Oak that said “an illegal intrusion had in fact occurred.” Investigative Intelligence Group, in a statement, also said it does not believe anyone from Epstein’s campaign or staff was involved in the alleged hack.

Michigan law makes it a misdemeanor crime to access a computer program, system or network “with the intent to defraud or to obtain money, property, or a service by a false or fraudulent pretense, representation, or promise.”

Epstein co-chaired GOP President Donald Trump’s Michigan campaign in 2016 and is hoping to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing in 2018.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young of Laingsburg is also running for the Republican nomination. Farmington Hills businessman and Iraq War veteran Jon James last month formed an exploratory committee.