Miffed Aide Who Hacked Governor’s Emails Gets 9-Month Sentence

Jamie Estrada leaves an Albuquerque federal courthouse Wednesday after getting a nine-month sentence for hacking into the email account of Gov. Susana Martinez. Photo by Rob Nikolewski


New Mexico Watchdog 
ALBUQUERQUE — Email hacking is a crime and a former campaign manager who turned on the Republican governor in New Mexico is going to do time.

Jamie Estrada was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in federal prison for breaking into the email campaign account of Gov. Susana Martinez and disseminating some of the messages to her political opponents

“To whom much is given, much is required,” said Judge William “Chip” Johnson, quoting scripture as he passed sentence on Estrada, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to intercepting the governor’s email and lying to the FBI about it.

Johnson said he considered agreeing with federal prosecutors, who argued for one year and one day in prison, but Johnson knocked off three months because Estrada is the primary caretaker for a brother, who is suffering from potentially fatal non-alcoholic liver disease.

In one of the most dramatic moments in the three-hour sentencing hearing, Martinez read a statement, saying, “I am here as a victim, not as the governor.”

Martinez said Estrada “manipulated” his way into the Martinez campaign for governor in 2009, only to attack her with the stolen emails after he was turned down for employment in the Martinez administration following her November 2010 victory.

“The only deterrence is with a maximum sentence,” Martinez said, addressing the judge. “That will tell the next person it’s not worth it.”

Near the end of the hearing, Estrada addressed the judge and said he was sorry for “my indulgent behavior and lack of self control” and apologized to Martinez and others who had their email communication stolen.

“My career is in ruins,” said Estrada, who once served in the administration of George W. Bush, holds two bachelor’s degrees, an MBA from Georgetown University. He seemed to have a promising political career in New Mexico.

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