May 25, 2016: Guccifer pleads guilty as part of an apparent deal to cooperate with US investigators.

Judge James Cacheris (Credit: public domain)

Judge James Cacheris (Credit: public domain)

The Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer pleads guilty in a US court to charges of identity theft and unauthorized access to protected computers. At a plea hearing before US District Court Judge James Cacheris in Alexandria, VA, he admits that he broke into email and social media accounts of about 100 US citizens between 2012 and 2014.

Guccifer is best known for breaking into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal in March 2013 and thus publicly revealing Clinton’s private email address. He could face up to seven years in prison in the US, on top of the seven years he is already serving in Romania.

He is due to be sentenced on September 1, 2016. However, it is alleged that his guilty plea is part of a deal to cooperate with the US government, possibly including the FBI’s Clinton investigation. It has been reported that he will cooperate with the government in other investigations and be “reasonably available for debriefing and pre-trial conferences as the US may require.” He also has agreed to turn over any documents or other materials “that may be relevant to investigations or inquires.” (LawNewz, 5/25/2016)

September 1, 2016: The Romanian hacker known as Guccifer is sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

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Marcel-Lehel Lazar aka Guccifer (Credit: NBC News)

Guccifer, whose real name is Marcel-Lehel Lazar, pled guilty in a US court to two charges earlier in the year, eliminating the need for a trial. He admitted to targeting over 100 Americans over a 14-month period. When he broke into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal in March 2013, he publicly exposed Clinton’s private email address for the first time.

Guccifer has been cooperating with US officials, but federal prosecutors sought a maximum penalty of four and a half years anyway. US District Judge James Cacheris imposes sentence only three months short of that, saying a tough penalty is needed to deter future hacking. Furthermore, while Guccifer confessed, he showed no remorse.

He had already been sentenced to a seven year prison term for hacking in Romania, and was extradited to the US to face charges there. The Romanian government has asked that he be immediately returned to Romania to finish serving his time there. Then, in 2018, he would be sent back to the US to serve his US prison sentence. (The Washington Post, 9/1/2016)