Marcel Lehel Lazar, a Romanian computer hacker known also as “Guccifer,” is expected to plead guilty in federal court Wednesday to charges related to a criminal cyber-spree whose victims include a former advisor to Hillary Clinton.
Court records indicate a change-of-plea hearing has been set for Wednesday morning in the case against Lazar, an Arad, Romania, resident who was indicted by U.S. prosecutors in 2014 on nine felony counts including cyberstalking, unauthorized access to computers and obstruction of justice.
Lazar was extradited to the U.S. last month and initially pleaded not guilty, but sensationally bragged about his exploits in jailhouse interviews conducted since.
In 2013, a hacker using the alias Guccifer took credit for compromising the email account of Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton family confidant, and leaking correspondence involving a previously unpublished email account used by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Although Lazar has not been charged in connection with any crime directly involving Mrs. Clinton, he told interviewers earlier this month that he had breached her private email server during the course of hacking the account of her advisor. The Clinton campaign and the State Department have both rejected the hacker’s claims.
The FBI is currently conducting an unrelated investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s use of that nongovernmental email account while she served as secretary of state.
None of Lazar’s alleged victims are identified by name in charging documents, but previous reporting and the hacker’s own admissions indicate he unlawfully accessed Internet accounts belonging to Mr. Blumenthal, in addition to former Secretary of State Colin Powell and members of the Bush family.
“I had memos Hillary Clinton got as a State Secretary, with CIA briefings. These were being read by her, two other people from the US Government, and Guccifer. I used to read her memos for six, seven hours and then I’d get up and do the gardening in the yard,” Lazar told the Pando news website last year during an interview from Romania while serving a seven-year prison sentence for hacking crimes there.
The Justice Department confirmed Lazar will plead guilty this week, but it was not clear if the plea will apply to all counts, the Smoking Gun reported. A court-appointed attorney for the hacker declined to comment, the website reported.
Last month, Lazar told Fox News that he has been willing to cooperate with American authorities.