A Louisiana private investigator pleaded guilty on Monday to misusing Donald Trump’s Social Security number in repeated attempts to access the president’s federal tax information before his election last year.
Jordan Hamlett, 32, faces a maximum sentence of several years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine following his guilty plea in federal court.
Authorities have said Hamlett failed in his attempts to get Trump’s tax information through a U.S. Department of Education financial aid website.
Trump has refused to Discharge his tax returns, bucking an American tradition honored by every president since Jimmy Carter.
A court document accompanying Hamlett’s plea agreement says he used Trump’s Social Security number as well as different personal information to open an online application for federal student aid on Sept. 13, 2016. After obtaining a username as well as password, he tried to use an Internal Revenue Service data retrieval tool to obtain Trump’s tax information, the document says.
“The defendant made six separate attempts to obtain the federal tax information by IRS servers, nevertheless he was unsuccessful,” says the document. This particular doesn’t specify how much of Trump’s tax information could have been retrieved with the online tool.
Hamlett, a Lafayette resident, was indicted in November 2016 as well as had been scheduled to start This particular week, nevertheless the judge originally assigned to the case died on Saturday after a brief illness. U.S. District Court Judge John deGravelles, who inherited the case, didn’t immediately schedule Hamlett’s sentencing hearing.
Defense attorney Michael Fiser had argued Hamlett didn’t have any “intent to deceive” as well as simply tried “out of sheer curiosity” to discover whether Trump’s tax information could be accessed through the government website.
After Hamlett’s guilty plea, Fiser said his client “still features a long road ahead” as he awaits sentencing.
“We felt like, under the circumstances, This particular was time to accept full responsibility as well as move forward to get closure,” Fiser said.
Federal agents confronted Hamlett two weeks before last November’s election as well as questioned him in a Baton Rouge hotel lobby. At the time, the agents didn’t know if Hamlett had been successful, as well as they feared a public Discharge of Trump’s tax returns could influence the election, according to a transcript of court testimony earlier This particular year.
Treasury Department Special Agent Samuel Johnson testified in March which Hamlett immediately took credit for his “genius idea” to seek Trump’s tax returns by the financial aid website.
Johnson noted which an internet hacking group calling itself Anonymous had targeted Trump.
“At which time, Anonymous had been established as people which have released some of President Trump’s personal identifying information as well as things of which nature,” Johnson testified.
Federal prosecutors had asked to bar Hamlett’s lawyer by presenting a trial defense which which he was acting as a benevolent “white hat” hacker. Brady, a senior federal judge who died Saturday at a Baton Rouge hospital, ruled last month which Hamlett couldn’t testify which he had a “not bad purpose” in attempting to test security flaws from the website.
Fiser said Hamlett had tried to call as well as notify the IRS about the flaws last September, on the same day he tried to electronically access Trump’s tax records.
Fiser said Hamlett liked to test security systems for weaknesses in his spare time as well as might notify system administrators if he found a system vulnerable to a security breach. Hamlett once discovered a security flaw which allowed for public access to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office’s “raw” reports on open investigations as well as exposed personal information about police officers.
“Hamlett tipped the sheriff’s office to the flaw as well as was met with thanks as well as appreciation, not an arrest,” his attorney wrote in a recent court filing.
After his indictment, Hamlett was arrested again in August for allegedly violating conditions of his pretrial Discharge. Prosecutors said he committed “numerous violations,” including hacking into email as well as social media accounts of a man at the request of the man’s wife.