Laura Brod knew of leaked photo Jan. 11, when she tweeted she wouldn't run for any office

Categories: Politics
U of M Regent Laura Brod knew as early as January 11 that a boudoir photo of her had been leaked, and that same day ruled out running for higher office on Twitter, although she did not explain why at the time.

The boudoir photo first came to widespread public attention much later -- on July 25 when Brod admitted to City Pages that the image published on a Tumblr called "ThisIsAPictureOfLauraBrod" was authentic.

But emails provided to City Pages by a source who requested anonymity make clear that the photo was originally leaked January 11.

A source provided this email to City Pages, dated January 10, which shows the original Laura Brod boudoir photo before it was filtered, watermarked, and put on Tumblr:

The comment -- "Reason 1 why Brod would be bad in 2014. Lot's of loose lips and lots more of this." --  was in response to buzz on Twitter about Brod's potential as a candidate for higher office.

For comparison, here is the email sent to me (and other members of the media) on July 22:


You'll notice immediately that the two emails were sent from near identical addresses -- "" and ""

The source contacted Laura Brod about the photo the next day. That evening, Brod sent a tweet -- seemingly out of nowhere -- ruling out running for any office:

No one knew it at the time, but this tweet was Brod's reaction to the boudoir photo's release.

Next: What does the metadata of the photo tell us about when it was taken?

Just a few days later, Brod would allude to her secret troubles in what appeared to be an innocuous public service announcement:

In her statement to City Pages six months later, Brod would reveal that she's the victim of a cyber stalker and that she has contacted the FBI to prosecute the person responsible:
As embarrassing as this entire incident is, we know the larger nightmare of harassment, cyber-stalking and privacy invasion is not unique to us, and we plan to fight back with everything we have. This matter has been referred to the FBI and we are pursuing all legal means possible to prosecute whoever is responsible for the illegal dissemination of this material.
The FBI would neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

The January email released to City Pages does provide some additional clues into the source. Using the original photo, you can run a metadata search on the image:

You'll note that we've highlighted the Device Model -- a Palm Treo 700p -- with a red arrow. That model was released in 2006, and was no longer available by July 2008, according to this Wikipedia article. That means the boudoir photo was most almost certainly taken during the time Brod was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives (2004-2010).

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