Romanian court rules hacker can be extradited to US

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court has ruled that a hacker known as Guccifer should be extradited to the U.S. to serve a 4½-year prison sentence.

The court in the central city of Alba Iulia ruled Monday that Romanian Marcel Lazar Lehel will be extradited after completing a seven-year sentence in Romania.

Guccifer gained global notoriety after he hacked the email accounts of U.S. officials including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and members of the Bush family.

He also claimed to have hacked the emails of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but prosecutors found no evidence of that. However, he was found to have hacked an email account of Sidney Blumenthal, a confidant of Clinton, in March 2013. The 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 became part of the investigation into whether Clinton mishandled sensitive emails.

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Lehel, 46, was sent to the U.S. in March 2016 and pleaded guilty to accessing the personal emails and social media accounts of some 100 U.S. citizens between 2012 and 2014 and releasing their private photographs and correspondence.

Among the Americans he hacked was “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell.

He was later sent back to Romania and is currently incarcerated in the city of Deva after he was sentenced for illegally accessing the email accounts of Romanian officials and public figures.

Monday’s ruling can be appealed. Lehel previously said he wants to serve his U.S. prison sentence in Romania.

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