Matthew Keys
SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 23: Former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys (R) leaves the federal courthouse after being arraigned April 23, 2013 in Sacramento, California. Keys was in court to face charges he conspired with the hacking group Anonymous. Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images

Matthew Keys, a former Reuters journalist previously convicted of conspiring with the Anonymous hacking collective to deface the website of the Los Angeles Times, has been sentenced by a federal judge to 24 months in prison.

The ruling was handed down in a California courtroom on 13 April and Keys is expected to surrender to law enforcement custody on 15 June later this year.

Keys was found guilty in October 2015 on three counts of criminal hacking under the notorious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) after reportedly giving Anonymous-affiliated hackers active login credentials for the Tribune Company which were then used to deface and alter an article on the website of the LA Times.

Prosecutors in the case said that Keys, who was previously employed at the Tribune-owned KTXL Fox 40, contacted hackers online in a chat room and handed over the compromised details willingly - a charge he denies to this day. Following his conviction Keys branded the entire process "bulls**t" and said that any sentence would be "absurd given what was alleged".

Now, in the wake of the fresh court judgement, Keys has taken to social media to say his legal team will appeal the ruling. "This whole process has been exhausting," he wrote. "We plan on filing a motion to stay the sentence."

In a Medium blog post published before the court hearing, Keys said: "Today is the most-important day of my life so far. The direction of the rest of my life rests with a single person and is almost completely beyond my control." Then, after thanking his legal team and supporters, he added: "I am innocent, and I did not ask for this fight. Nonetheless, I hope that our combined efforts help bring about positive change to rules and regulations that govern our online conduct."