CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former Clay County Sheriff Miles Slack admitted to a federal judge Tuesday that he hacked his wife's work computer in order to obtain email passwords and chat room conversations.
Slack, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of interception and disclosure of wire or oral communications. He faces up to five years in prison when U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver sentences him at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 19.
In April, prosecutors say, Slack installed a keystroke logger on the work computer of his then-wife, Lisa Slack, who works in the Clay County Magistrate Court office.
Once installed, keystroke devices can intercept everything typed on a keyboard, including email and information transmitted to Internet sites. Slack left the device in place for two weeks.
Computers in the offices of circuit judges and magistrates in West Virginia are owned and maintained by the state Supreme Court and are connected to a central Supreme Court computer network.
Even though Slack said he only wanted Lisa Slack's personal information, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby told Copenhaver the computer also contained personal information of defendants charged in Clay County Magistrate Court.
On May 3, a divorce order was finalized between Miles and Lisa Slack, according to the Clay County Circuit Clerk's Office.
Slack was charged by information last month, meaning he waived the right to have a grand jury hear the case and determine if there was probable cause for an indictment to be issued. An information cannot be filed without a defendant's consent, which usually means a defendant is cooperating with prosecutors.
As part of the plea agreement, Slack stepped down before admitting to the charge and agreed never to seek public office again. Slack submitted a resignation letter Friday, and Clay County commissioners accepted it Monday.