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IRS contractor who leaked Trump tax returns pleads guilty

Former President of the United States Donald Trump at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., July 24, 2022. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
October 13, 2023

In a striking breach of the public’s trust, 38-year-old Charles Littlejohn, an IRS contractor from Washington, D.C., who has been charged with leaking former President Donald Trump’s tax information, pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawfully disclosing confidential tax return details.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland highlighted the gravity of Littlejohn’s actions, stating, “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.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division also stressed the “serious breach” of public trust that is caused by the “unauthorized theft” and release of tax return information by government contractors and employees.

“The Department will hold accountable those who illegally exploit their access to sensitive personal information,” she said.

In a press release, the Department of Justice indicated that court documents reveal Littlejohn’s manipulation of IRS systems to access the tax returns of a prominent government official, labeled “Public Official A.”

Beyond merely accessing this sensitive data, Littlejohn managed to steal, save, and subsequently leak these documents to “News Organization 1” in a series of articles published in September 2020.

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In July and August of 2020, Littlejohn also stole the tax return information of thousands of the country’s wealthiest people. Bypassing IRS detection mechanisms, the tax return information was quickly disclosed to “News Organization 2” and resulted in more than 50 articles being published based on the information.

After stealing and leaking private tax return information, Littlejohn attempted to obstruct an investigation into his actions by “destroying evidence of his disclosures,” according to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department noted that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was instrumental in uncovering the extent of Littlejohn’s breach.

Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Trevor Nelson, has praised the diligence of those involved in the investigation and reiterated TIGTA’s unwavering commitment to upholding integrity in federal tax administration.

According to The Associated Press, Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, criticized the court’s plea deal with Littlejohn, urging the court to consider a longer sentence for the breach of public trust.

Facing up to five years in prison, Littlejohn now awaits his anticipated sentencing on January 29, 2024.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.