Estrada pleads guilty in Gov. Martinez's hacked email case

Updated: 06/16/2014 5:32 PM | Created: 06/16/2014 3:00 PM
By: Kristen Garcia,

ALBUQUERQUE – Jamie Estrada, 41, of Los Lunas, N.M., pleaded guilty Monday to the unlawful interception of electronic communications and false statement charges arising out of the unlawful interception of wire communications intended for others, including New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and members of her staff.

Estrada briefly served as campaign manager in 2009, as Martinez was beginning her bid for governor. The Republican won election in 2010 and took office in January 2011.

 “Each and every one of us has a right and an expectation of privacy in our electronic communications, including our emails, and those who violate the law by diverting, stealing or otherwise misappropriating our private communications should face serious consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez.

Estrada earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of intercepting email in the campaign account and making false statements to federal investigators.

According to the plea agreement, Estrada changed the settings for the Domain to direct all incoming email to an email account he controlled so that the emails were routed to him instead of the intended recipients.  From July 2011 through June 2012, Estrada intercepted hundreds of email messages intended for recipients at the Domain, including the Governor.  The intercepted emails included personal emails, internal political communications and emails from ordinary citizens to the Governor or her staff.  In his plea agreement, Estrada admitted sharing the emails he unlawfully intercepted with the Governor’s political opponents to disseminate the emails to news media and other outlets. 

Some of the electronic messages were leaked to Martinez critics, who publicly released them.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Estrada faces a sentence of zero to a year and a day in federal prison.  The remaining components of Estrada’s sentence, including the length and conditions of his supervised release and any fine or restitution, will be determined by the court.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Fred J. Federici and Jeremy Pena.

Following Monday's guilty plea, Governor Susana Martinez issued the following statement:

"Today's guilty plea vindicates what I have said from the beginning which is that these personal and private emails were indeed stolen.  This is a case about a fired former employee who wasn’t given a state job and then sought to get even by illegally intercepting personal emails from numerous individuals, including personal bank account statements and my personal undergarment orders, all of which were made public in a misguided effort to harm me and others in a revenge scheme.

It would have been easier for me to not have reported this crime, nor made myself available to testify as a victim,  but thousands of New Mexicans are victims of cyber crimes each and every year and that’s one reason I was willing to endure the bogus and personal smears in order to see this case through.  

I want to thank the FBI and US Attorney’s office for fighting for justice in this case, just as they do for all victims who have their privacy violated."

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