Lavabit founder Ladar Levison raises $100,000 for legal defense

By on August 16, 2013, 3:45 PM

It’s been roughly one week since the founder of secure e-mail provider Lavabit, Ladar Levison, elected to shut down the service instead of complying with apparent demands from the government. The 32-year old entrepreneur that ran the e-mail service from his Dallas apartment isn’t going down without a fight, however, as a legal fund he set up in the days following the closure has already raised more than $100,000.

Levison told NBC News that he could be arrested for shutting down the service instead of complying with surveillance orders but was unable to speak any more on the subject. A source familiar with the situation, however, told the publication that senior litigation counsel James Trump sent an e-mail to Levison’s lawyer on the day the service shut down.

In that message, Trump allegedly said Levison may have violated the court order. The court order in question isn’t known but many suspect it could be a sealed subpoena or even a national security letter requesting he cooperate with surveillance.

Trump did not reply to a request for comment from NBC, we’re told. He’s most recently known for being a lead attorney on high-profile leak investigations surrounding former CIA officers Jeffrey Sterling and John Kiriakou.

Lavabit gained notoriety after it was revealed that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was using the service to set up meetings with human rights activists during his time at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

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