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Former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa pleads guilty to hacking

Chris Correa, who was fired by the Cardinals last season after he admitted to hacking the Houston Astros, has pleaded guilty to five of 12 related charges.
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Chris Correa, a former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director who was fired by the team last season after he admitted to hacking into a proprietary database belonging to the Houston Astros, pleaded guilty to five of 12 related federal charges of unauthorized computer access on Friday, reports the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron.

The Cardinals were investigated last summer after a New York Times report alleged that the team had broken into the Astros’ team databases, called "Ground Control," in 2013 and '14 to gain access to statistics, scouting reports, information on trades and more. Buzzfeed’s Lindsey Adler reports that federal agents believe that Correa, using a password gained from hacking the email of an Astros team employee, accessed the team’s scouting list of each player eligible for the draft that season, as well as extensive scouting information about available prospects. Correa also claimed in court that he found proprietary information belonging to the Cardinals in the database, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Correa, 35, had been with the Cardinals since 2009 and had worked under then-vice president of player development Jeff Luhnow. Correa was promoted to the team's director of baseball development position in 2013; Lunhow left to become the general manager of the Astros two years prior.

Following Correa's conviction, the Astros released a statement on Friday afternoon, thanking the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office for investigating the crime. The team also denied Correa's claims that the team had stolen information from the Cardinals, adding, "We have a great amount of respect for [Cardinals chairman] Bill DeWitt and the Cardinals organization."

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Correa faces a possible sentence of a maximum of five years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines on each conviction of unauthorized access of a protected computer. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch's Derrick Goold, Major League Baseball was waiting for the federal case against Correa to come to an end before beginning its own investigation as to whether the Cardinals will be punished for his actions.

MLB issued a statement Friday afternoon regarding the matter:

“Major League Baseball appreciates the efforts of federal law enforcement authorities in investigating the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database, and identifying the perpetrator of this crime. We anticipate that the authorities will share with us the restults of their investigation at the appropriate time, and we will determine what futher actions to take after receiving all the relevant information.”

- Kenny Ducey