Charles Littlejohn, the former Internal Revenue Service contractor who leaked the tax records of former President Donald Trump to The New York Times, in addition to leaking the tax records of billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to ProPublica, was sentenced Monday to five years in prison. Littlejohn, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ana C. Reyes at a hearing at the federal courthouse in Washington, and will also have to pay a $5,000 fine.
Prosecutors said that Littlejohn “weaponized his access to unmasked taxpayer data to further his own personal, political agenda, believing that he was above the law.” Littlejohn pleaded guilty in October, and prosecutors sought the statutory maximum of five years in federal prison, saying that he “abused his position by unlawfully disclosing thousands of Americans’ federal tax returns and other private financial information to multiple news organizations.”
Judge Reyes said during sentencing: “You can be an outstanding person and commit bad acts. What you did in targeting the sitting president of the United States was an attack on our constitutional democracy.” Reyes described Littlejohn’s actions as a deliberate, complex, multiyear criminal scheme, but said she believed he “sincerely felt a moral imperative” to act as he did.
Littlejohn briefly addressed the court before receiving his sentence, saying that he “acted out of a sincere but misguided belief that I was serving the public.” Littlejohn said that taxpayers deserved to know how easy it was for the wealthy to avoid paying into the system, and he believes that Americans make their best decisions when properly informed: “I made my decision with the full knowledge that I would likely end up in a courtroom.”
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