An accused member of the clandestine hacking group LulzSec has pleaded not guilty to charges of taking part in an extensive computer breach of the Sony Pictures Entertainment film studio.
Cody Kretsinger, 23, entered not guilty pleas to one count each of conspiracy and unauthorised impairment of a protected computer during a brief hearing in US District Court in Los Angeles.
US Magistrate Judge Victor Kenton set a December 13 trial date for Kretsinger, who spoke only in response to questions from the judge.
Kenton also ordered that Kretsinger be represented by a court-appointed public defender.
Kretsinger faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted. He declined to comment to Reuters after the hearing.
A nine-page federal grand jury indictment unsealed in September charges Kretsinger with obtaining confidential information from Sony Pictures' computer systems using an "SQL injection" attack against its website, a technique commonly used by hackers to steal information.
Kretsinger, who went by the moniker "recursion," helped post information he and his co-conspirators stole from Sony on LulzSec's website and announced the intrusion via the hacking group's Twitter account, the indictment charges.
LulzSec, an underground group also known as Lulz Security, at the time published the names, birth dates, addresses, e-mails, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of people who had entered contests promoted by Sony.
"From a single injection we accessed EVERYTHING," the hacking group said in a statement at the time. "Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks."
Hackers previously had accessed personal information on 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts, the vast majority of which were users in North America and Europe, in what was then the biggest such security breach in history.
Other high-profile firms targeted by cyber attacks included Lockheed Martin and Google.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)