NM governor’s ex-aide pleads guilty to hacking charges

The former campaign manager for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) pleaded guilty on Monday to illegally grabbing emails meant for the governor and other top officials.

Jamie Estrada, who worked for the governor ahead of her 2010 election, admitted that he intercepted hundreds emails registered on the old campaign domain name and shared them with political opponents.

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“All Americans, regardless of the jobs or the positions they hold, deserve to have their emails and other computer transactions protected from criminals who would steal and exploit confidential information for unlawful purposes,” said the FBI’s special agent in charge, Carol Lee, in a statement.

Estrada served as Martinez’s campaign manager for fewer than six months in late 2009.

During that time, he had access to a campaign website on which multiple staffers including Martinez kept email accounts that they continued to use for years after the election.

In 2011 Estrada secretly logged in, renewed the domain and changed the customer profile so that his activities would be hidden.

He then switched settings on the site so that emails were sent to him instead of their intended recipients. Those messages were then reportedly forwarded along to groups like Independent Source PAC, which used them to accuse Martinez of using a private email address to conduct official business.

In addition to illegally intercepting the emails, Estrada also pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI when they questioned him in 2012.

Under the terms of the agreement, Estrada faces up to a year in prison.