Filippo Bernardini, who posed as others to obtain more than a thousand manuscripts, has escaped prison. A year in prison had been demanded against the 30-year-old Italian, but a judge in New York said the man had been in pretrial detention long enough.
Bernardini worked in London for the American publisher Simon & Schuster. Between August 2016 and January 2021, he managed to obtain unpublished manuscripts from known and unknown authors. Among the hundreds of victims were Dutch writer Hanna Bervoets, bestselling author Margaret Atwood and actor Ethan Hawke.
The man’s motive was unclear for a long time. But earlier this month, he wrote to the judge that he simply wanted to read the books before they came out.
“It was never my intention to leak the manuscripts, and I never did,” Bernardini said. “I wanted to keep the books to myself and be one of the few to read them before they hit the shelves. Reading them sometimes made me feel special and feel like I had a unique connection with the author. “
The man will not receive a prison sentence, but must pay publisher Penguin Random House $ 88,000 (almost € 82,000) because of the legal costs that the company has incurred in connection with the case.