- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Romanian computer hacker who claimed to have accessed Hillary Clinton’s personal email server entered a guilty plea Wednesday in federal court to charges related to a cyber crimes that spawned upwards of 100 victims, including a close friend of the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

Marcel Lehel Lazar, a 44-year-old former taxi driver from Arad, Romania, pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer and aggravated identity theft. He’ll face a maximum prison term of 7 years behind bars when he’s sentenced September 1.

Using the alias “Guccifer,” Lazar admitted to hacking email and social media accounts pertaining to roughly 100 U.S. citizens between October 2012 and January 2014, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia announced Wednesday.

Mr. Lazar will be punished for violating the personal privacy of dozens of Americans,” prosecuting attorney Dana J. Boente said in a statement. “These convictions show that cybercriminals cannot hide from justice. The United States will vigorously pursue these offenders, wherever they may hide.”

Lazar had been extradited to the U.S. in April, and initially pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last month in the same Alexandria, Virginia courthouse where he copped this week to two counts.

Prior to entering a plea agreement, Lazar faced nine counts, including wire fraud, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice in addition to the aforementioned charged he ultimately admitted to.

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Although the names of Lazar’s alleged victims were redacted in charging documents, previous reporting coupled with his own admissions suggest he managed to hack his way into the email accounts of Colin Powell, members of the Bush family and Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant to Mrs. Clinton, among others.

Lazar previously boasted of gaining access to an email account belonging to Mr. Blumnenthal and leaking correspondence to and from the current presidential hopeful. Select emails were supplied to the media in 2013, and subsequently revealed that Mrs. Clinton had been using a nongovernmental account to discuss critical matters while secretary of state. Mrs. Clinton’s use of that account is the subject of a separate FBI investigation.

While Lazar has not been charged in relation to any crimes directly linked to Mrs. Clinton, he told interviewers earlier this month that he had gained access to her personal email server over the course of his hacking spree. The State Dept. and Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign have independently rejected those claims.

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