An IRS consultant was charged in connection with stealing former President Donald Trump’s tax information and leaking it to the media.
Federal prosecutors announced the charges Friday against Charles Edward Littlejohn, a contractor for the Internal Revenue Service, who worked for the agency between 2018 and 2020.
In court documents, prosecutors said Littlejohn stole “tax returns and return information associated with Public Official A”.
Sources confirmed to CNN, who first reported on the charges, that Public Official A refers to Trump.
Littlejohn is alleged to have leaked Trump’s tax information to an unnamed news organization along with information on “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, including returns and return information dating back more than 15 years.”
In 2020, the New York Times published a report saying it obtained over two decades of Trump’s tax information.
ProPublica published similar reporting on the taxes of wealthy people in 2021, but denied direct involvement with Littlejohn.
A spokesperson for the publication said, “As we’ve said previously, ProPublica doesn’t know the identity of the source who provided this trove of information on the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans.”
The New York Times declined to provide a comment on the charges.
A news release from the Justice Department says Littlejohn is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information. He faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted.
The IRS has not commented specifically on the case, but Commissioner Danny Werfel said “any disclosure of taxpayer information is unacceptable.”
He also claimed the agency has since tightened its security measures to ensure no further leaks take place.
Trump has not yet commented on the charges, but defended his tax record when the reports were first published, saying he is entitled to tax credits like anyone else after the disclosures showed he paid very little in taxes some years.