Former Liberal press secretary promises courtroom action

A trial that threatens to reopen old wounds in Sweden's Liberal Party opened in Stockholm on Tuesday, with four current and former staffers facing charges. The former press secretary of the party's youth wing has admitted illegally accessing the Social Democrats' internal computer network during last year's election campaign.

Per Jodenius was fired as press secretary for LUF, the Liberals’ youth movement, after it emerged two weeks before last September’s election that he had been viewing the internal network of the then-governing Social Democrats.

He arrived at Stockholm District Court on Tuesday wearing sunglasses. He greeted the press, saying: “I promise that there will be action in the courtroom.”

Four current and former senior Liberal Party officials are on trial over the unauthorized log-ins. Johan Jakobsson, who resigned as the Liberals’ party secretary over the scandal, denies being an accessory to Illegal Access to a Computer Network. The party’s press chief, Niki Westerberg, denies the same charge.

Per Jodenius admits Illegally Accessing a Computer Network, but denies being an accessory to the same offence.

Another former LUF official, Niklas Lagerlöf, also denies an illeagal access charge.

Also being tried are Niklas Svensson, who was a reporter for tabloid Expressen and Niklas Sörman, a former official in the Social Democrats’ youth movement SSU.

Sörman and Svensson have entered guilty pleas to the charges of Illegally Accessing a Computer Network. Sörman has denied a further charge of Making a False Accusation.

The Social Democrats’ lawyer, Percy Bratt, said that the party had decided not to demand damages payments, even though the incident had caused severe damage to the reputation of politics.

“This has damaged the whole democratic and political process, not just the Social Democrats,” he said. The party’s computer network held “crucial information” about its campaign, including its strategy for combating the centre-right Alliance, information about its plans to campaign on the issue of care for the elderly and details of its election planning.