The former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) contractor who leaked President Trump’s tax records has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Charles Littlejohn, 38, pleaded guilty in October for unlawfully disclosing tax return information.

“Over the course of more than two years, Defendant—a consultant at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’)—abused his position by unlawfully disclosing thousands of Americans’ federal tax returns and other private financial information to multiple news organizations. After applying to work as an IRS consultant with the intention of accessing and disclosing tax returns, Defendant weaponized his access to unmasked taxpayer data to further his own personal, political agenda, believing that he was above the law,” a sentencing memorandum read.

According to NBC News, Littlejohn also leaked the tax records of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Per NBC News:

Littlejohn’s attorney argued that he had committed the offense “out of a deep, moral belief that the American people had a right to know the information and sharing it was the only way to effect change” and that he believed he was right at the time.

While Littlejohn’s conduct was “inexcusable,” his lawyer said, and “breached the trust placed in him by the United States government and violated the privacy of thousands of taxpayers,” a “strong message of general deterrence” had already been sent to the public.

Littlejohn, 38, who grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, briefly addressed the court before receiving his sentence, saying that he “acted out of a sincere but misguided belief that I was serving the public.”

Taxpayers deserved to know how easy it was for the wealthy to avoid paying into the system, Littlejohn added, saying he believes that Americans make their best decisions when properly informed.

“I made my decision with the full knowledge that I would likely end up in a courtroom,” he said.

Reuters added:

Littlejohn later leaked tax information on “ultra-high net worth taxpayers” to the investigative news outlet ProPublica. He was motivated by concerns about economic inequality and wanted to spur reforms to the U.S. tax system, his defense team wrote in court documents.

ProPublica published nearly 50 articles based on the information, revealing how the wealthy evade income taxes in the United States.

The nearly 6,000 pages of records released by the House panel in 2022 included more than 2,700 pages of personal returns from Trump and his wife Melania Trump, plus more than 3,000 pages of returns from his businesses.

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