Former FBI agent sentenced to jail for illegally accessing lobbyist’s emails

A former FBI agent’s anti-Trump actions have just earned him some time behind bars.

On Friday, a federal judge in Virginia sentenced ex-FBI agent Mark Tolson to a week in jail and 50 hours of community service, the Washington Examiner reported.

The crime

Back in September, Tolson pleaded guilty to illegally accessing the email account of Washington, D.C. lobbyist Jack Burkman, according to Politico. Tolson was able to get into Burkman’s account with the help of his wife, who, having at one time worked for Burkman, happened to know his password.

What motivated Tolson’s unlawful activity was a scheme that Burkman and 22-year-old conservative activist Jacob Wohl had hatched to smear former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and undermine his probe of potential Russian involvement in the 2016 election. The pair, according to The Washington Post, offered a number of women money to bring sexual harassment allegations against Mueller, which eventually the duo to claim that they had in fact located a victim.

To counter that operation, Tolson gained access to Burkman’s email account, took screenshots of messages as well as Burkman’s login information, and then sent it to a journalist. Tolson’s defense was to claim that he broke the law “to protect Director Mueller” from Burkman and Wohl, the Post noted.

“Very serious offense”

Unfortunately for Tolson, two wrongs don’t make right, and that it exactly the principle of which U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema had to remind Tolson during Friday’s sentencing.

“This is actually a very serious offense,” Brinkema said, according to The Washington Times. “You’re lucky. Your wife is lucky. The government could have prosecuted her as well.

“You can’t just rummage through other people’s accounts,” Brinkema added. “You had to have known better.”

With that, Brinkema sentenced Tolson to a mere seven days behind bars and 50 hours of community service.

Small measure of justice

What some — including Burkman — want to know is: if Tolson’s crime was so serious, why is his term of incarceration so short?

“What a disgrace our judicial system is,” Burkman tweeted following the sentencing. “Mark Tolson gets 7 days. Can you imagine the jail time he would have gotten if I were a liberal? The good news is that we will be suing him in federal court for extensive damages.”

Burkman certainly has a point here. For now, we will just have to be happy seeing a law-violating anti-Trumper behind bars, regardless of the duration. After all, it isn’t something we see enough of these days.

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