Hearing on possible plea change set for New Mexico governor's ex-campaign manager


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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A federal court has scheduled a hearing Monday for a possible plea change by Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign manager, who is set to go to trial next month on charges of hijacking the campaign's email system after Martinez became governor.

Jamie Estrada's attorney, Zach Ives, said Friday he couldn't comment on whether his client had reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors

The hearing for Estrada will be held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lorenzo Garcia.

Estrada has pleaded not guilty to charges of intercepting email in the campaign account and making false statements to federal investigators.

The hearing notice appeared Friday in an online federal court records system.

Estrada briefly served as campaign manager in 2009, as Martinez was beginning her bid for governor. Martinez won election in 2010 and took office in January 2011.

Estrada faces a dozen felony charges of intercepting email and four charges of making false statements to federal agents during their investigation. He was initially indicted a year ago.

Prosecutors allege that Estrada used password and username information to change the computer account for the governor's 2010 campaign organization after Martinez took office as governor.

Electronic messages sent through the campaign email system by Martinez and her aides were directed to a computer account controlled by Estrada, according to the indictment.

The governor's office asked for a federal investigation of possible computer system hacking after emails were publicly leaked by Martinez critics, including some messages showing that Martinez and top aides had used private email addresses to discuss government business.

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