A former affiliate of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is facing charges for releasing former President Donald Trump's tax records to the New York Times during his presidency, as announced by federal officials on Friday.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) identified the suspect as Charles Littlejohn, 38, who resides in Washington, D.C.
According to a federal report, the DOJ claims that Littlejohn revealed the tax details of several of the country's affluent individuals to media entities and shared tax data related to a "high-ranking government official" with another news outlet.
Fox News has been informed that Pro Publica, an investigative journalism nonprofit in New York City, received stolen tax details.
Court records indicate that the exposed tax returns span over a decade and a half.
The alleged misconduct by Littlejohn took place between 2018 and 2020. The complaint does not explicitly mention Trump.
Addressing the charges, the Justice Department stated: "Littlejohn is charged with one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison."
As the case unfolds, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) leads the investigation, serving as the IRS' internal oversight mechanism.
Sources have revealed that Littlejohn is potentially considering a guilty plea.
While working in consultant role with the IRS, Littlejohn allegedly acquired and passed on Trump's tax documents to the Times, which ran multiple stories about Trump's tax history before he concluded his presidency.
In 2020, a Times investigation revealed that Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he began his presidency, with certain years showing zero payment due to significant financial setbacks.
The House Ways and Means Committee, under Democratic leadership at the time, subsequently disclosed six years of his tax returns, the Associated Press reported.
In 2021, ProPublica unveiled data from tax returns of America's wealthiest individuals.
Their findings indicated that the top 25 affluent individuals often legally remit a lesser percentage of their tax earnings than numerous average wage earners.
In September 2020, Trump responded to discussions about his tax records, emphasizing that he had contributed "millions of dollars" to the Internal Revenue Service.
He contended that he is "entitled" to tax deductions just like any other citizen.
This response came after a Times article reported that Trump hadn't paid any income taxes for 10 out of the past 15 years.