Guccifer will change plea to guilty signaling possible cooperation with investigators

posted at 5:21 pm on May 23, 2016 by John Sexton

Marcel Lazar, the hacker known as Guccifer, will change his plea in court to guilty this Wednesday. The Hill reports:

A spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office prosecuting Lazar confirmed that he would plead guilty.
However, it is unclear which charges the 42-year-old will plead guilty to, or whether the move is part of a deal to cooperate with federal officials on other cases.

Politico says the change could be the result of a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for assistance in an ongoing investigation. However, neither the prosecutor nor the defense would clarify.

If the guilty plea is part of a deal the obvious question is what case the feds are seeking Lazar’s help with. One intriguing possibility is that this move could be connected to the Clinton email investigation. Lazar, aka Guccifer, is the hacker who accessed emails belonging to Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal. Leaked emails from Blumenthal’s account were the first indication that Hillary Clinton had used a private email account while Secretary of State, though it was more than a year before later developments led to the realization she had only used this account on a private server in her home for all of her email while Secretary.

More recently, Lazar told Fox News he had hacked into Clinton’s server using information gleaned from Blumenthal’s account. The Clinton camp has denied this but experts contacted by Fox News and NBC said it was possible.

There is at least one anonymous source who has claimed Lazar’s extradition was connected to the Clinton investigation. Last month an unnamed source told Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge the move was “not a coincidence.”

Former law enforcement and cyber security experts said the hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, could – now that he’s in the U.S. – help the FBI make the case that Clinton’s email server was compromised by a third party, one that did not have the formal backing and resources of a foreign intelligence service such as that of Russia, China or Iran.

Today the Associated Press reported the FBI was nearing the end of its investigation into Clinton’s private server and would likely seek to interview her soon:

The FBI has already spoken with Huma Abedin, a Clinton confidant who was among the Democratic presidential front runner’s closest aides at the State Department. Former chief of staff Cheryl D. Mills is also cooperating with the investigation, according to her lawyer.

That signals that agents will probably seek to interview Clinton soon, if they haven’t already, former Justice Department officials told The Associated Press. The FBI’s standard practice is to save questioning the person at the center of an investigation for last, once it has gathered available facts from others.

So at this moment there are suggestions that Lazar’s decision to change his plea to guilty could be part of a deal signaling cooperation on another investigation and, separately, suggestions that his extradition was connected to the Clinton email investigation. But for the time being no one is going on the record. Perhaps we’ll learn more Wednesday after the plea is changed.


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