Ex-IRS Contractor Who Leaked Trump & Billionaires' Tax Data Gets 5 Years in Prison

Handcuffs and money on top of tax forms

A former Internal Revenue Service contractor who stole and leaked the tax returns of former President Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ken Griffin and other billionaires was sentenced to five years in prison.

Charles Littlejohn, 38, pleaded guilty Oct. 12 to stealing Trump’s tax data from the IRS and leaking it to the New York Times.

He also admitted taking tax information about thousands of other wealthy Americans, including Jeff Bezos, that he passed to ProPublica. The judge called it the biggest heist in IRS history and “an intolerable attack on our constitutional democracy.”

U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes imposed the maximum sentence on Littlejohn, who had said in court papers that he acted out of “a deep, moral belief” that Americans had a right to know the information, and sharing it was the only way to change a tax system that favors the wealthy.

“He targeted the sitting president of the United States of America and that is exceptional by any matter,” Reyes said at a hearing Monday in Washington. “When you target the office of the president, you target democracy.”

In a recent memo to the court, Littlejohn’s lawyers said he expressed remorse for his actions, saying they had “had undermined the IRS, breached the public trust, and violated the privacy of thousands of American taxpayers.”

Littlejohn was alarmed when Trump took office in 2017 and refused to make his tax records public, they wrote. He was hired by an IRS consultant and vowed to “try to access the President’s tax returns if given the opportunity,” they said.

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Reyes said his motivations were a poor excuse for breaking the law.

‘Moral Imperative’

“I believe you sincerely felt a moral imperative,” the judge said. “I have thought deeply about your motivations and I also want to deter others who might have felt a moral obligation to break the law.”

Court records show Littlejohn took elaborate steps to steal 15 years of Trump’s tax records and cover his tracks before he met with New York Times reporters. He first gave the tax data to the Times in August 2019, helping reporters analyze the data and then stole additional tax records, records show.