IRS contractor who leaked Trump's tax returns sentenced to five years in prison

 January 30, 2024

Donald Trump received some rare vindication from the U.S. legal system Monday as the man who leaked his tax returns was sentenced to jail - although many, including the judge, questioned whether prosecutors went too easy. 

38-year-old Charles Littlejohn, a former IRS contractor, received the maximum sentence of five years in prison as the judge upbraided him for "targeting the sitting president of the United States."

Trump tax leaker sentenced

Trump's tax returns were a holy grail for Democrats throughout his presidency. After years of legal battles, House Democrats released them in December of 2022.

Trump's tax information had been exposed years earlier, when it was leaked by Littlejohn to the New York Times, which published a report based on the documents in September 2020.

At the time, the New York Times defended its decision "to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained."

Prosecutors said Littlejohn previously worked for the IRS and that he sought employment with the agency again for the purpose of getting Trump's tax returns.

Littlejohn also shared information belonging to other wealthy individuals like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Florida Senator Rick Scott (R).

Judge goes off...

In court, Littlejohn apologized for his conduct but argued he had noble intentions of exposing unfairness in the tax code.

But U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes, a Biden appointee, blasted Littlejohn's actions as an "attack on our constitutional democracy," noting he invaded the privacy of the then-U.S. president.

"He targeted the sitting president of the United States of America, and that is exceptional by any measure," Judge Reyes said. "It cannot be open season on our elected officials."

Did the DOJ go easy?

Some questioned whether the penalty was sufficient, including Senator Scott, who called it the "plea deal of the century."

Littlejohn pled guilty to just one felony count, despite exposing thousands of individuals' tax information.

Scott called the sentence further proof that "the Biden Justice Department has become politicized to attack the regime's enemies and protect its friends."

Beyond his targeting of Biden's top rival in an election year, Littlejohn also advanced a political agenda that is shared by Biden, who has repeatedly said the wealthy don't pay their "fair share" in taxes.

It wasn't just Republicans who criticized the prosecution. The judge also suggested that Littlejohn got off too easy.

"The fact that he did what he did and he is facing one felony count, I have no words for," she said.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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