A Louisiana private investigator has pleaded guilty on Monday to attempting to illegally obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns via his social security number. The repeated attempts reportedly occurred on September 13, 2016, at a time when Trump avoided the subject of releasing his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election.
According to the court records, Jordan Hamlett, 32 of Sunset Louisiana tried to bypass Internal Revenue Service laws by using Trump’s Social Security number to fill out an application for federal student aid. Hamlett was successful in attaining a Federal Aid Identification after which he tried to unsuccessfully access Trump’s tax returns by using an IRS data retrieval tool.
The private investigator is facing a maximum sentence of five years in jail coupled with a $250 thousand fine after pleading guilty in a federal court.
A federal grand jury indicted Hamlett in November 2016, with a judge having allowed him to remain free on bond. The government later challenged that decision on July 26, stating that the 32-year-old had violated conditions of his bond by continuing to pose as a private investigator.
The motion claimed that Hamlett hacked into the social media and email accounts of a client’s husband to determine if the man was having an affair. It also pointe out that Hamlett violated his bond by using electronic devices that were not allowed by the government.
A judge has issued a warrant for his arrest on August 9 and Hamlett went back to prison where he awaits his trial.
Donald Trump has refused to release his tax return which, in turn, has disrupted a long-standing tradition honored by every president since Jimmy Carter.
Hamlett’s attorneys argued that the private investigator was merely a hacker trying to discover loopholes in federal systems and that attempting to access Trump’s tax returns was done out of sheer curiosity.
„The federal government has been unable to produce one shred of evidence that Hamlett was intending to do anything other than his stated intent,” said his attorneys in an October court filing.
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