A former contract worker for the Internal Revenue Service plead guilty on Thursday to improperly accessing and stealing the private tax return and financial information of former President Donald Trump in 2019 and 2020, and then leaking that information to media outlets.
Federal prosecutors charged Charles Littlejohn last month, and with his guilty plea, now faces up to five years in prison for the crime. During a plea hearing in federal court, Littlejohn said he shared Trump’s information, along with that of many other wealthy taxpayers, with The New York Times and Pro Publica.
While federal law prohibits individuals from leaking such information, it does not prevent media from publishing it, as long as they were not a party to the initial violation.
“I cannot overstate how troubled I am by what occurred,” judge Ana Reyes told the defendant. “Make no mistake — this was not acceptable. “When we have people who for whatever reason take the law into their own hands, society doesn’t function properly,” the judge added.
Littlejohn is scheduled to be sentenced during a January hearing. Trump attorney Alina Habba told the court that Littlejohn should serve the maximum sentence. Prosecutors noted that federal guidelines suggested he would more likely serve from eight to 14 months in prison.