The IRS contractor who stole and leaked former president Donald Trump’s tax data has been sentenced to 5 years in jail.
Charles Littlejohn, 38, pleaded responsible in October final yr to at least one rely of unauthorized disclosures of earnings tax returns after leaking Mr Trump’s and 1000’s of different’s tax data.
His plea settlement states that he stole Mr Trump’s tax returns in addition to the tax data of “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people”. At the time, he was working for a consulting agency with IRS contracts.
Mr Littlejohn shared the tax data with two information retailers and subsequently deleted the paperwork from his laptop computer, which had been issued by the IRS, earlier than handing it again. He additionally eliminated the locations the place he had beforehand saved the data to take away any traces, CNN famous.
“What you did in attacking the sitting president of the United States was an attack on our constitutional democracy,” Judge Ana Reyes advised Mr Littlejohn. “We’re talking about someone who … pulled off the biggest heist in IRS history.”
She added that his actions constituted a “threat” to US democracy which “engenders the same fear that January 6 does,” in reference to the Capitol riot in early 2021.
Prosecutors argued that Mr Littlejohn made nice effort to pay money for the data with out detection, together with by downloading data onto an iPad and later importing it to a personal web site that he subsequently eliminated.
Judge Reyes criticised the Department of Justice for under bringing one rely in opposition to Mr Littlejohn.
“The fact that he did what he did and he’s facing one felony count, I have no words for,” she mentioned, based on CNN.
Prosecutors mentioned the one rely coated a number of leaks and thefts by Mr Littlejohn.
In a authorized submitting recommending that Mr Littlejohn face the utmost penalty of 5 years in jail, prosecutors wrote that “A free press and public engagement with the media are critical to any healthy democracy, but stealing and leaking private, personal tax information strips individuals of the legal protection of their most sensitive data”.
In court docket on Monday, Mr Littlejohn mentioned that he “acted out of a sincere misguided belief”. He added that he was working in service of the nation and that the general public had a proper to the data he shared with the press.
“We as a country make the best decisions when we are all properly informed,” he mentioned, including that he had been “aware of the potential consequences” and that he knew he would find yourself in court docket.
“My actions undermine the fragile faith” within the American authorities, he mentioned.
Mr Littlejohn admitted final yr that he leaked Mr Trump’s tax data to The New York Times in 2019 and the tax data of 1000’s of rich Americans to ProPublica in 2020.
The retailers printed tales revealing that Mr Trump and different rich Americans for a number of years paid both little or no federal taxes.
Prosecutors argued in a authorized temporary that Mr Littlejohn “weaponized his access to unmasked taxpayer data to further his own personal, political agenda, believing that he was above the law”.
Mr Littlejohn’s defence crew argued for a time period of eight to 18 months. They mentioned his actions have been “the product not only of his misguided idealism but of life experience that led him to treat each day as if it were his last”, citing his youthful sister dying in 2013 and his father being recognized with a illness in 2019, based on The Washington Post.