World

Guccifer, accused of hacking Bush accounts, to plead guilty

The Romanian hacker known as Guccifer, who is charged with breaking into computer accounts of the Bush family, Secretary of State Colin Powell and others, is scheduled to plead guilty to federal charges.

A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Alexandria for Marcel Lazar, 44, of Arad, Romania, according to court records. He pleaded not guilty last month to charges including cyberstalking, unauthorized access to computers and obstruction of justice.

The court records do not specify which charges Lazar will plead to. His court-appointed lawyer, Shannon Quill, declined to comment Monday.

Lazar is best known for alleged hacks into accounts held by the Bushes that revealed private family photos and paintings connected to former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Lazar also made news earlier this month with unsubstantiated claims he hacked into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

He was indicted in the U.S. in 2014. A Romanian court approved him for extradition earlier this year.

The indictment does not identify the victims by name but describes "Victim 1" as "a family member of two former U.S. presidents." The Bush family member's hacked AOL account resulted in leaked emails, medical information, photographs, home addresses, and telephone numbers, according to the indictment.

The website The Smoking Gun published some of the hacked photos, including pictures of paintings by George W. Bush, and a photo of George H.W. Bush in the hospital. The Smoking Gun said the hacked account belonged to Dorothy Bush Koch, the daughter of the elder Bush and sister of the younger.

The indictment also identifies "Victim 3," believed to be Powell, and says his Facebook account was hacked, and posts went out under Powell's name stating "You will burn in hell, Bush!" and "Kill the illuminati!"

Guccifer also claimed credit for hacking an email account of Sidney Blumenthal, a confidant of Hillary Clinton, in March 2013. That subsequent leak of Blumenthal's emails was the first time that outsiders became aware of Clinton's private "clintonemail.com" address, which she used to communicate with Blumenthal.

It has now become part of the investigation of whether Clinton mishandled sensitive emails. Blumenthal appears to be described in the indictment as Victim 5, "a journalist and former presidential advisor" whose account was hacked in March 2013.

Lazar told multiple news outlets earlier this month that he hacked Clinton's email server, but that he didn't publish any of the emails because he found them uninteresting. He offered no proof of his claims.