Federal prosecutors announced the charges on Friday against an Internal Revenue Service contractor who allegedly falsified the tax returns of a high-ranking government official. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that former President Donald Trump’s official.
Charles Edward Littlejohn, 38, worked with the IRS from 2018 to 2020, according to court documents. During his contract, Littlejohn stole “tax returns and information relating to public official A” and disclosed that information to a news agency.
Although the official was not named in the court documents, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN that the tax returns in question belonged to Trump.
In addition to the former president’s tax documents, Littlejohn is accused of “stealing IRS information on thousands of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, including more than 15 years of income and return information.” Littlejohn forwarded the tax information to a second, unnamed news outlet.
“Both news outlets published several articles detailing the tax information they received from the defendant,” court documents said.
The New York Times and ProPublica both published articles based on the tax records of the former president and other wealthiest Americans during the same time frame — in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Court records do not name any news outlets that have not been accused of wrongdoing.
Littlejohn is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax and income information and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Littlejohn’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for ProPublica said in a statement to CNN that “ProPublica does not know the identity of the source who provided this information about the taxes paid by wealthy Americans.”
CNN has reached out to The New York Times and Trump for comment.
This story is breaking and will be updated.