A former Internal Revenue Service contractor who pleaded guilty to leaking former President Donald Trump’s tax records was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison, the New York Post reported.
In October, Charles Littlejohn, 38, of Washington, D.C., admitted to leaking tax documents belonging to “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest individuals,” including Trump, Blaze News previously reported.
According to the Department of Justice, the former IRS contractor used “broad search parameters” to “conceal the true purpose of his queries.”
“He then uploaded the tax returns to a private website in order to avoid IRS protocols established to detect and prevent large downloads or uploads from IRS devices or systems,” the DOJ explained.
Littlejohn saved the tax records on multiple personal storage devices before sending some of the information to a news outlet, believed to be the New York Times, in August and October of 2019. The Times later published a piece detailing Trump’s tax returns. In 2021, ProPublica also posted an article that provided tax information belonging to some of the nation’s wealthiest people.
Despite pleading guilty to the unauthorized disclosure of tax return information belonging to thousands of individuals, Littlejohn only faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison. On Monday, United States District Judge Ana Reyes gave the maximum sentence to the former IRS contractor.
Prosecutors argued that Littlejohn applied for the position with the IRS with the intention of retrieving Trump’s tax records.
“What you did in targeting the sitting president of the United States was an attack on our constitutional democracy,” Reyes told Littlejohn. “It cannot be open season on our elected officials.”
Littlejohn stated, “I acted out of a sincere, if misguided, belief that I was serving the public interest.” According to his lawyers, Littlejohn was motivated by a “deep, moral belief” that the public had a right to know the information he illegally obtained and disseminated to the media outlets. Littlejohn leaked tax information belonging to “ultra-high net worth taxpayers” in hopes his actions would catalyze reforms to the tax system.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the DOJ’s Criminal Division said, “Charles Littlejohn abused his position as a consultant at the Internal Revenue Service by disclosing thousands of Americans’ federal tax returns and other private financial information to news organizations. He violated his responsibility to safeguard the sensitive information that was entrusted to his care, and now he is a convicted felon.”
Argentieri called Littlejohn’s sentencing “a strong message that those who violate laws intended to protect sensitive tax information will face significant punishment.”
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