Former NSA contractor Reality Winner, the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration for leaking sensitive government information, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a deal with prosecutors that calls for a sentence of more than five years.
Winner was charged in June 2017 for releasing a classified National Security Agency report to news outlet The Intercept. The report detailed how Russian hackers had tried to compromise US election officials less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential vote.
At a federal courthouse in Augusta, Georgia, on Tuesday, Winner entered a guilty plea for espionage, The New York Times reported. Prosecutors have recommended a sentence of 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release, an unusually harsh sentence in a leak case, the Times reported. A judge must still approve the sentence.
The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for comment, nor did Winner’s lead lawyer, Joe Whitley.
Winner, 26, has been in jail for a year since investigators tracked her down by tracing the printer she used to print out the classified report before mailing it to The Intercept.
Prosecutor Jennifer Solari said at a detention hearing last year that Winner was “mad about some things she had seen in the media, and she wanted to set the facts right,” the Times reported then.
Winner is the second person known to have reached a plea agreement with the Trump administration in a leak-related case, reported the Times. The Justice Department has also charged at least two other people for leaks under this administration.
First published June 26, 11:10 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:44 a.m.: Adds information about other leak prosecutions under the Trump administration.
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