ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A trial on child pornography charges has been postponed for a Democratic political consultant, who’s been linked to a separate case about the hijacking of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s campaign email account.
U.S. District Judge James Browning earlier this week rescheduled Jason Loera’s trial for Sept. 15. It was to start July 1.
Loera has pleaded not guilty and is challenging an FBI search of his home in 2012 when agents found sexually explicit images of children on computer storage discs. The initial search was part of the FBI’s investigation of the governor’s hijacked email.
According to FBI affidavits in the email case, Loera received Martinez administration correspondence that had been intercepted and he leaked some of the messages to the governor’s political opponents. Loera has not been charged in the email case, however.
Former Martinez campaign manager Jamie Estrada pleaded guilty last week to charges of intercepting email and making false statements to federal agents.
Estrada served briefly as campaign manager in 2009 as Martinez was beginning her bid for governor. He took control of the campaign’s email system after Martinez became governor in 2011. Messages by Martinez, her aides and others through the campaign email system didn’t go to intended recipients and were directed to a computer account controlled by Estrada.
According to FBI statements, Estrada communicated regularly with Loera, and some hijacked emails were sent from a Loera-controlled account to Martinez administration critics, including Albuquerque lawyer Sam Bregman, who later became state Democratic Party chairman.
Bregman used an administration email in a hearing when he represented a state prison official appealing his firing. The appeal was later dropped, but the FBI used that email to help trace the campaign-account hijacking to Estrada.