Washington, September 30
US federal prosectors have charged a man for allegedly leaking the tax returns of a "high-ranking government official" who is understood to be former President Donald Trump, media reports said.
The prosecutors on Friday charged Charles Edward Littlejohn, the 38-year-old man worked with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2018 to 2020, who allegedly stole “tax returns and return information associated with Public Official A” and disclosed that information to a news organisation, CNN reported citing court documents.
Although the official is not named in court documents, a source told CNN the tax returns in question were Trump's.
In addition to the former President's tax documents, Littlejohn is also accused of stealing IRS information on “thousands of the nation's wealthiest people, including returns and return information dating back more than 15 years”, the documents said.
The accuse then sent that tax information to a second unnamed news organisation.
“Both news organisations published numerous articles describing the tax information they obtained from the Defendant,” the court documents said without naming the outlets.
The organisations have not been accused of any wrongdoing, CNN reported.
The New York Times and ProPublica both published articles based on tax records of the former President and other wealthy Americans around the same timeframe – in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
While the New York Times has declined to comment about the claims, ProPublica told CBS News on Friday: "We have no comment on today's announcement from the Department of Justice. 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."
Trump has also not commented on the development.
A 2020 article in The New York Times, which is thought to have been based on the leaked information, claimed that the former President paid just $750 in federal income tax both in 2016, the year he ran for the US presidency, and in his first year in the White House, reports the BBC.
The newspaper also said that he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years and that the records reveal "chronic losses and years of tax avoidance".
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