Charles Littlejohn sentenced to 5 years in prison for leaking Trump's tax returns

Donald J. A former Internal Revenue Service contractor accused of leaking tax documents from Trump and other wealthy Americans was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.

Charles Littlejohn, a former contractor known as Chas, worked for the tax agency from 2017 to 2021, when he joined Mr. Prosecutors said they stole the tax records of thousands of the nation's richest people, including Trump. Mr. Littlejohn later gave The New York Times and information ProPublica.

His actions “appear to be without parallel in the history of the IRS,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Littlejohn, 38, He confessed to the crime Late last year, one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax return information. In addition to five years in prison, one of the largest sentences in a federal leak investigation, Mr. Littlejohn was sentenced to three years of supervised release, 300 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine.

“Today's sentence sends a strong message that those who violate laws intended to protect sensitive tax information will face significant penalties,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, who oversees the Justice Department's criminal division, said in a statement. Advocates Mr. He said the harm caused by Littlejohn's revelations was “extensive and ongoing beyond measure”.

Mr. A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, the first president to do so since the 1970s. The documents, considered crucial to understanding his wealth and business practices, attracted public interest, and the IRS Commissioner at the time, Mr. He ordered Trump's filings to be secured in a special vault.

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He also worked as a contractor for the IRS between 2008 and 2013. Littlejohn, Mr. Prosecutors said he sought employment there again in 2017 with the intention of stealing Trump's tax records. At that time, the lawyers, Mr. Littlejohn “weaponized access to unmasked taxpayer data to advance his personal, political agenda, believing he was above the law.”

In 2020, Mr. The former president paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he was elected president, and 10 of the previous 15 years, the Times reported, citing Trump's tax filings. In 2021, Jeff Bezos, Michael R. ProPublica released details on how the 25 richest Americans, including Bloomberg and Elon Musk, paid relatively little in federal income taxes. The revelations revived calls by Democrats to impose a wealth tax.

Senator Rick ScottEven the Florida Republican Included in ProPublica's reportingLast week Attorney General Merrick B. In a letter to Garland, Mr. He said he was among “thousands of American taxpayers” who were subjected to “discriminatory abuse” by Littlejohn.

Mr. Littlejohn's attorney, Lisa Manning, said her client did not release tax documents to benefit her.

“He committed this crime because of a deep, moral belief that the American people have a right to know information and that sharing it is the only way to make a difference,” Ms. Manning wrote in a sentencing memo.

The revelations fueled longstanding accusations that the tax agency is politically motivated, which agency officials have denied. In late 2022, House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, after years of legal battle, said Mr. Released six years of Trump's tax returns.

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