Emailgate: Email thief Jamie Estrada Sentenced to Nine Months

Yesterday, Governor Martinez’ former campaign manager, Jamie Estrada was sentenced to nine months in federal prison for stealing private emails from the domain. The Albuquerque Journal has more:

Susana Martinez’s former campaign manager, Jamie Estrada, was sentenced to nine months in prison, a $10,000 fine and three years supervised release by U.S. District Judge William “Chip” Johnson this afternoon after pleading guilty to hijacking Martinez’s 2010 campaign website, stealing a year’s worth of emails sent to her campaign and lying about it to federal agents.

Estrada, once considered an up-and-comer in Republican Party circles, and his attorney Zachary Ives asked Johnson for probation and no jail time in exchange for his guilty plea.

Federal prosecutors asked Johnson to send Estrada to prison for a year and a day, the maximum under the plea agreement Estrada signed.

Prosecutors argued in court documents that Estrada was motivated by political revenge and sought to damage Martinez and her supporters by giving the emails to her political opponents.

…Emails [stolen] included personal and political communications and emails from ordinary citizens to Martinez or her staff. They included emailed bank statements to campaign staff; Martinez’s online shopping for underwear and books; and confidential political messages.

In his plea agreement, Estrada admitted that “I gave the emails to Governor Martinez’s political opponents knowing that certain emails would be disseminated to others.”

I first started following the emailgate story in May of 2013, about the time Jamie Estrada was indicted.  The story has been sad and painful to watch.  I only saw Estrada once in person when he gave a presentation, along with several top-level RPNM leaders, at a Republican-sponsored event that must have been in June of 2012. But since last summer, I have occasionally written about and commented on the emailgate saga.  Stolen emails have been used by top-level Democrats (Shreddin’ Sam Bregman Chair of DPNM as well as Jason Loera– now charged with child porn possession, a discovery made during an FBI search) against Republicans, used by campaigns (Democrat District Attorney candidate Mark D’Antonio) to hurt Republican candidates and officials (including then-District Attorney Amy Orlando)…and on and on…

I’ve had some “interesting” feedback when writing and commenting on issues related to emailgate.  But probably the strangest thing that has happened to me related to those connected to emailgate was a phone call I missed the day I walked away from a high-profile job in Las Cruces. It had been a hectic week. As I received phone calls, emails, texts and social media messages from concerned family, friends, and co-workers, I missed one call that morning and strangely enough it was from Jamie Estrada’s phone number– Estrada is somebody I have never communicated with (by phone, email or carrier pigeon for that matter!) and certainly the last person I would have expected to receive a phone call from that day, just a week after a good friend had casually mentioned observations of Estrada and revenge. The timing was suspect; a strange twist to an extremely confusing day…

As emailgate aftermath continues to unfold (several emailgate victims have filed a civil suit against Jamie Estrada, Anissa Galassini-Ford, Sam Bregman, Jason Loera and Michael Corwin) I continue to hope and pray justice is done and the truth comes to light.

Often the emailgate saga has stunned me with disbelief.  But most of all it’s been sad to see what can happen in politics.  For me it has been a learning process.  And definitely a reminder to keep my politics aligned under my faith in God, which has ultimately kept me on track, despite the political twists and turns.

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