The former campaign manager for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to charges related to hacking into and obtaining email communications between the governor and members of her staff.
The former campaign manager, Jamie Estrada, pleaded guilty to unlawful interception of electronic communications as well as charges of giving a false statement related to unlawfully intercepting the correspondence meant for Martinez and her staff, according to the Department of Justice.
In May Estrada was indicted on 14-counts related to the hacking Martinez’s gubernatorial campaign’s email system after he left his job in December 2009. Twelve of the 14 counts allege that from July 2011 through June 2012 Estrada illegally obtained communications meant for people who had accounts on the email system for Martinez’s political organizations. The last two counts charge Estrada for giving false statements to the FBI in 2012 where he said he did not take specific actions in intercepting the communications.
As part of his plea agreement, Estrada said he logged into the email system in July 2011 and changed the “customer profile using a fictitious name with a Colorado address” according to the Justice Department. Estrada also said he renewed the email system under a fake name and paid for that with a pre-paid gift card so a trail didn’t lead directly back to him.
Between July 2011 and June 2012 Estrada was able to obtain hundreds of emails meant for other users of the email system. That also includes emails meant for Martinez herself. As part of his plea agreement Estrada said he shared the emails with political opponents of Martinez.
Under the plea agreement Estrada entered into he faces between “of zero to a year and a day in federal prison.” The rest of his sentence will be decided by the court, according to the Justice Department.