- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2016

A federal judge Thursday sentenced Marcel Lazar, better known as the hacker “Guccifer,” to 52 months in prison for a cybercrime spree that claimed more than 100 victims, including a confidant of democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and a member of the Bush family.

District Court Judge James Cacheris handed down in sentence in an Alexandria, Virginia courthouse Thursday morning, five months after the hacker was extradited from a prison cell in his native Romania in order to face criminal charges in the U.S.

Mr. Lazar, 44, was already serving a 7-year sentence for hacking in his home country when the U.S. Department of Justice charged him in 2014 with a series of cybercrimes committed against Americas.

The hacker’s targets are redacted in court filings, but previous reports and his own admissions indicate victims included longtime Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and a relative of the Presidents Bush, among others.

In 2013, an individual using the alias “Guccifer” supplied news websites with leaked emails obtained from Mr. Blumenthal’s personal email account that included correspondence with Mrs. Clinton. The communications revealed that Mrs. Clinton used a nongovernmental email account for official business while serving as secretary of state, the likes of which was the subject of a federal investigation that concluded earlier this summer.

Mr. Lazar previously told reporters that he had gained accessed to Mrs. Clinton’s email server during the course of his exploits. FBI Director James Comey later told Congress that the hacker was interviewed about Mrs. Clinton’s email server and admitted to investigators that he had invented the claim.

The 9-count indictment unsealed against Mr. Lazar in 2014 charged him with wire fraud, computer hacking, aggravated identity theft, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice. He initially pleaded not guilty upon arraignment, then changed his plea in May to accept responsibility for one count each of aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access to a protected computer.

Mr. Lazar faced a mandatory 24-month sentence for the identity theft charge to be served consecutively after any punishment handed down for the hacking count. Defense attorneys had asked Judge Cacheris to impose a 12-month sentence for the hacking charge; prosecutors requested a minimum of 36 months in prison. All told, he’s expected to serve just over four years behind bars in an American prison for both charges.

First, however, the hacker is slated to finish up his other sentence abroad: Romania’s Ministry of Justice has asked that Mr. Lazar be allowed to finish serving time there before he’s incarcerated in the U.S., Judge Cacheris said at Wednesday’s hearing, according to CBS News.

In announcing his sentence Thursday, Judge Cacheris acknowledged the importance of deterring future hackers from following in Mr. Lazar’s footsteps.

“This epidemic must stop,” Judge Cacheris said, the Washington Post reported.

A blog operated under the name “Guccifer 2.0” has published a series of documents in recent months purportedly stolen from the computers of Democratic Party officials and organizations as the result of a wide-ranging cybercampaign currently under investigation by the FBI. The administrator of the blog has previously credited Mr. Lazar as an inspiration.

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