On Monday, Judge Ana Reyes sentenced the former IRS contractor who leaked former President Donald Trump’s tax records to The New York Times.
Reyes sentenced Charles Littlejohn, the IRS contractor, to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.
Rebuking Littlejohn, Reyes said the strategic release of confidential information was “an intolerable attack on our constitutional democracy.”
Reyes added: “The press tells us Democracy dies in darkness. It also dies in lawlessness. There are numerous lawful means to bring things to light. Trump was under no obligation to expose his returns. People could vote for someone else. They could run against him.”
Littlejohn reportedly lost his job as an IRS consultant after leaking Trump’s tax returns to the press in 2019. Littlejohn believed Trump to be “a threat to democracy,” according to a statement by the Dept. of Justice.
The Dept. of Justice recommended Littlejohn be prosecuted on one count — Reyes disagreed, saying the “magnitude of his actions” demanded greater accountability.
Prosecutors during the trial argued that Littlejohn “weaponized his access to unmasked taxpayer data to further his own personal political agenda, believing that he was above the law.”
“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,” prosecutors added.
According to a Fox News report, Reyes agreed and stated during the judgment that “Littlejohn had clearly concocted a long-term plan to violate Trump’s privacy.”
“He did not make a snap judgment. He made a series of decisions,” said Reyes. “This court cannot let others view this conduct as acceptable. I need to send the strongest possible message that we are a nation of laws.”
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