A former campaign manager for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) pleaded guilty on Monday to intercepting e-mails intended for her and her staff and providing them to her political opponents, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Jamie Estrada joined the governor’s campaign in July 2009 and left that December, at which point then-candidate Martinez asked him to get rid of his access to susana2010.com, a domain used by her and campaign staff for, among other things, e-mail communication.
Even after her January 2011 inauguration, Martinez and members of her staff continued to use the associated e-mail addresses. When the domain name registration expired in July 2011, they tried to get Estrada’s help in renewing it, but he never responded, according to the Justice Department.
Estrada now admits to renewing the domain name registration with a prepaid gift card to avoid being tracked and redirecting all incoming e-mail to a personal account on July 29, 2011. Over the course of most of the year that followed, he continued to intercept hundreds of e-mails, including those intended for the governor or her staff.
Estrada was charged on more than a dozen counts in May 2013, most of them related to the alleged interception of e-mails sent to people with campaign e-mail addresses with two counts of making false statements to the FBI about it. He admitted to sharing the intercepted e-mails with Gov. Martinez’s opponents for dissemination to the news media and other outlets as well as lying to the FBI.
The original indictment also listed a dozen e-mails that he allegedly intercepted, including several addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org from the iTunes Store, an airline company, spanx.com and jockey.com. He admitted to intercepting specific e-mails on Monday, including one dated Jan. 4, 2012, titled “Confidential RGA Update,” a reference to the Republican Governors’ Association. In all, he admitted to intercepting e-mails described in a dozen counts.
Estrada faces up to a year and a day in federal prison, according to the Justice Department, to be determined by a court.