Rambam's fellow panelists said four men clad in dark blue FBI jackets quietly entered the auditorium, asked Rambam if he had any weapons on him, and then escorted him out the door along with his laptop and other equipment that contained the PowerPoint slides that were to make up the bulk of his scheduled two-hour presentation.Link. No one, including HOPE organizers, has published further details on the arrest at this time.
"If you know Steve then you know he's very flamoyant, and at first I thought it was just PR, you know?" said Kelly Riddle, a private investigator from San Antonio who was to speak alongside Rambam. "So, they asked him to step out in the hallway, placed the handcuffs on him and started to lead him off."
Rambam was going to discuss how he dug up -- in just 4.5 hours of searching private and public databases -- more than 500 pages worth of data on HOPE attendee Rick Dakan, who agreed to be the guinea pig for the project.
Reader comment: BoingBoing reader ylbissop, emailing us from the conference where Mr. Rambam was arrested, says:
As I sit here waiting for the engineers of the Grafitti panel at HOPE I decided to look around and saw the post about Steven Rambam. Seems whisper down the lane has changed the story since Emmanuel told it before the mentioned panel today. According to Emmanuel, Steve was arrested as soon as the Palltech seminar was over, not immediately before. Emmanuel spoke to us before the panel entitled "Privacy is dead: Get over it." The Palltech seminar was in the same hotel but on a different floor and as far as I know the FBI has left us hackers alone, only going after the aforementioned private investigator. "Privacy is dead: Get over it" went on as scheduled without Rambam and was great. cheers from hope!Update, 11PM ET: Krebs at the WP got in touch with an FBI spokesperson in the agency's New York field office, who confirmed they had:
...executed one arrest warrant without incident at around 4 p.m. ET today at the Hotel Pennsylvania where HOPE Six is behind held. The FBI agent said the agency would not release any more information about the arrest, and that the information was sealed until Monday when Rambam is expected to make an initial appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. I've got a call in to his attorney and will update this post if I hear anything new. The scuttlebutt here at the conference is that Rambam may have located someone who was in the FBI's witness protection program, but I have not been able to verify that rumor at all.Nathan Rudy says,
A little side note on Rambam: He is the friend of Richard "Kinky" Friedman, the funny country singer who wrote "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore," and is running as an independent for Governor of Texas this year. Rambam is also a repeat character in Friedman's mystery novel series, where all of Kinky's friends are fictionalized.