He told the federal agents that it was “a genius idea.” Apparently not all genius ideas work out if they land you in court.

The person in question is Jordan Hamlett, a private investigator who has now been revealed as the individual who attempted to illegally access President Trump’s tax returns last September. It seems that we didn’t learn of this initially because the original charges were sealed. Also, agents who investigated the case were concerned that Hamlett’s activities could have influenced the election. (Associated Press)

Less than two weeks before Election Day, federal agents descended on a hotel lobby to meet a Louisiana private investigator they believed had illegally tried to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns.

At the time, the agents didn’t know if Jordan Hamlett had been successful — and they feared a public release of Trump’s tax returns could influence the U.S. presidential election, according to a transcript of testimony obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The agents worried Hamlett could be armed and orchestrated an elaborate operation at the hotel on Oct. 27, with plainclothes officers blending in with guests at the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge. Other officers took up positions outside.

Sounds like a dramatic scene indeed. And the plan that Hamlett had may not have been “genius” but, while completely illegal, it was at least creative. Apparently there’s a tool on an Education Department financial aid website which allows students to request copies of tax returns they may have lost but need to submit in order to qualify for grants or student loans. You just need to know your name and social security number. Hamlett had gotten hold of Trump’s SSN (probably through one of the leaks from Anonymous) and attempted to enter information on that website under Trump’s name with the intention of getting at his tax returns that way.

In any event, the plan failed and now he’s been charged with the crime, as per Politico.

Hamlett, 31, was indicted Nov. 10 on a federal felony charge of false representation of a social security number. Days earlier, on Oct. 27, he had been interviewed by federal agents in the lobby of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Baton Rouge, La., according to the court records.

Hamlett pleaded not guilty, according to court records.

Misrepresenting a Social Security number is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If the guy has no priors or other entanglements with the law he could obviously get a considerably lighter sentence, but it’s going to be a politically charged circus no matter how it turns out. Stay tuned.