Charles Littlejohn, an ex-IRS contractor, just got hit with a five-year prison sentence. His crime? Leaking former President Trump's tax returns.
On Monday, Judge Ana Reyes didn't hold back. She blasted the leak as "an intolerable attack on our constitutional democracy." Littlejohn's not just facing jail time. He's got 36 months of supervised release and a $5,000 fine waiting for him too.
Judge Reyes had a point to make. "Democracy dies in darkness," she said. "But it also dies in lawlessness." She reminded everyone that Trump had no duty to show his returns. There were other legal ways to challenge him.
Here's the twist. Prosecutors say Littlejohn took his IRS job with a plan. His mission? To leak Trump's tax secrets. He'd worked for Booz Allen from 2008 to 2013 but returned in 2017, eyeing those IRS files. The DOJ called him out. They said he saw Trump as a democracy threat and acted on it.
Prosecutors didn't mince words during the trial. "[Littlejohn] weaponized his access to unmasked taxpayer data." His goal? Push his personal politics, thinking he was untouchable.
But the plot thickens. The prosecution pointed out how vital a free press is. Yet, stealing and leaking private tax info? That's crossing the line. It robs people of their legal rights to privacy.
Judge Reyes echoed this sentiment. She said Littlejohn's actions weren't spur-of-the-moment. They were calculated, long-term plans. And she was clear. "This court cannot let others view this conduct as acceptable." Her message was loud and clear: We are a nation of laws.