US Internal Revenue Service contractor pleads guilty to leaking Trump’s tax returns

A US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contractor suspected of leaking former president Donald Trump’s tax returns to the media pleaded guilty on Thursday to unlawfully disclosing tax information.

Charles Littlejohn, 38, faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison at sentencing on January 29, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Littlejohn was accused by federal prosecutors of leaking the tax returns of a “high-ranking government official” to a news organization.

Neither the official nor the news outlet were identified by the Justice Department but it has been widely reported in US media that the tax returns were those of Trump and the news organization was The New York Times.

The Times reported in September 2020 that Trump, who has refused to make his tax returns public, paid only $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017, and none at all for 10 of the previous 15 years.

Littlejohn was also accused of leaking the tax information of thousands of the wealthiest individuals in the United States to another unidentified news outlet.

That outlet is believed to be ProPublica, a nonprofit journalism organization which published extensive reports in June 2021 based on the tax information, a project it dubbed “The Secret IRS Files.”

According to court filings, Littlejohn accessed tax returns on an IRS database and saved them on multiple personal storage devices, including an iPod.

“By using his role as a government contractor to gain access to private tax information, steal that information, and disclose it publicly, Charles Littlejohn broke federal law and betrayed the public’s trust,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Related Articles

Back to top button