The defense team for Jamie Estrada is arguing in new court filings that it has fresh evidence that an FBI agent may have made false testimony under oath to a grand jury in May 2013.
The grand jury indicted Estrada on federal charges accusing the Republican political operative of illegally intercepting the campaign emails of Gov. Susana Martinez and her staffers and lying to FBI agents about it.
Special agent Michael Boady testified to grand jurors in May 2013 that "as soon as [Martinez and her staff] realized they were unable to renew the domain, they—they provided us emails showing that they sent an email to all of their contacts, saying we are no longer using Susana2010, but now we are using another domain."
But according to the defense's court filing federal prosecutors recently admitted that they only obtained the email chain after March 7, 2014—nearly a year after Boady's grand jury testimony. The defense team says it hasn't received any other emails in the government's possession during that grand jury testimony, and is requesting an evidentiary hearing on the matter. The potential snafu might give lawyers an avenue to assist in defending Estrada's innocence by way of challenging the credibility of Boady.
The emails the FBI did produce show the governor's top political advisor told staffers to switch email accounts as early as the summer of 2011—a year before the emails were leaked to the media and the FBI investigation commenced.
"Regarding the attack on the Death Star's email system today..." political advisor Jay McCleskey wrote to campaign staffers on July 19, 2011. "Jamie Estrada finally got even today for the Governor removing his identity from the face of the planet in 2009. Jamie had the [GoDaddy] account for susana2010.com and it expired today. Shockingly, we couldn't get a hold of him today."
Estrada departed Martinez' campaign sometime around December 2009. The governor maintains she fired him while Estrada says that's not true.
McCleskey told staffers to switch from that campaign account to a new email domain set up for Martinez' separate political action committee, SusanaPac.
The trial is scheduled to begin in July. For Martinez, an alleged victim in the case, that's also in the middle of her reelection campaign. Prosecutors and the defense team have been jostling over the scope of discovery the government is required to turn over, with Estrada seeking to obtain evidence related to alleged improprieties made by the governor and her close advisors. Federal prosecutors argue the case should only center around the counts against Estrada.