- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a former campaign manager for Gov. Susana Martinez to nine months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for charges related to the theft of the governor’s email.

Martinez was among those gathered in the courtroom for Estrada’s hearing.

The governor, in a letter submitted to the court, urged prison time for Estrada, saying he had “plundered some of the most private details of my life and the lives of many others.”

“It is because of his greed, entitlement, vanity and quest for power, at any cost, that he finds himself in the present circumstances,” the governor wrote.

Jamie Estrada faced up to a year and one day in federal prison. He had asked U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson to sentence him to probation rather than prison. His family members cried when the sentence was read.

Estrada pleaded guilty in June to charges of unlawful interception of electronic communication and lying to FBI agents. He provided the hijacked email to the governor’s political opponents.

Messages sent by Martinez, her aides and supporters using 2010 gubernatorial campaign email accounts never went to the intended recipients. Instead, the emails were directed to a computer account controlled by Estrada. One of the emails involved a Martinez staffer’s bank records.

Estrada briefly served as campaign manager in 2009 as Martinez was starting her bid for governor.

Aside from the prison time, Estrada must also complete 100 hours of community service when he’s released.

Federal prosecutors said Estrada was “dishonest, devious, spiteful and conniving” during the time he took control over the campaign email system in mid-2011 after Martinez became governor and leaked email to damage or embarrass Martinez.

Prosecutors said Estrada also plotted against Martinez allies, including Amy Orlando, who the governor appointed as her successor as Dona Ana County district attorney. Martinez had served as district attorney until becoming governor.

Estrada “had joined in the effort to try to defeat” Orlando in the 2012 election, according to prosecutors. Some of Orlando’s emails were intercepted by Estrada.

Orlando lost to Democrat Mark D’Antonio, who is the current district attorney in Las Cruces and is among those who have submitted letters in support of Estrada for the federal judge to consider in sentencing him.

D’Antonio has described Estrada as a friend and “a good and honest man who made a very serious error.”

Martinez, a Republican, is running for re-election against Democratic challenger and New Mexico Attorney General Gary King.

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Follow Russell Contreras at https://twitter.com/russcontreras.


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