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A judge on Wednesday refused to reduce the $5 million bail of a San Francisco technology expert accused of rigging the city's computer system to malfunction during routine maintenance.

Terry Childs has been jailed since July 13 on four felony counts of computer tampering. He is accused of creating secret passwords that gave him exclusive access to the city's new multi-million-dollar computer network, which stores records such as officials' e-mails, city payroll files, confidential law enforcement documents and jail bookings.

Authorities said Childs initially refused to reveal correct passwords to them, but that he turned them over to Mayor Gavin Newsom during an unusual jailhouse visit Tuesday.

The city is still experiencing computer problems, said San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Conrad del Rosario. He told San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lucy McCabe that the Sheriff's Department is "locked out" and that other city departments are having problems.

Defense attorney Erin Crane said her client was the subject of a smear campaign by co-workers jealous of Childs' computer savvy and work ethic.

In arguing for reduced bail, Crane said in a motion that Childs was merely trying to protect the network after "co-workers and supervisors had in the past maliciously damaged the system themselves, hindered his ability to maintain it ... and shown complete indifference to maintaining it themselves."

Crane also said Childs, 43, posed no danger to the public.

She declined to comment outside court other than to say she was disappointed about the bail. She said his incarceration before trial will hinder her preparation of a complex case.


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