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The man who stole and leaked former President Donald Trump and thousands of other’s tax records has been sentenced to five years in prison.

In October, Charles Littlejohn, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized disclosures of income tax returns. According to his plea agreement, he stole Trump’s tax returns along with the tax data of “thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people,” while working for a consulting firm with contracts with the Internal Revenue Service.

Littlejohn leaked the information to two news outlets and deleted the documents from his IRS-assigned laptop before returning it and covered the rest of his digital tracks by deleting places where he initially stored the information.

Judge Ana Reyes highlighted the gravity of the crime, saying multiple times that it amounted to an attack against the US and its legal foundation.

“What you did in attacking the sitting president of the United States was an attack on our constitutional democracy,” Reyes said. “We’re talking about someone who … pulled off the biggest heist in IRS history.”

The judge compared Littlejohn’s actions to those of the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, noting that, “your actions were also a threat to our democracy.”

“It engenders the same fear that January 6 does,” Reyes added.

Prosecutors said Littlejohn went through great lengths to steal the tax records undetected, exploiting system loopholes, downloading data to an Apple iPod and uploading the information on a private website he later deleted.

Reyes was also critical of the Justice Department’s decision to only bring one count against Littlejohn.

“The fact that he did what he did and he’s facing one felony count, I have no words for,” the judge said. Prosecutors argued that the one count covers the multitude of Littlejohn’s thefts and leaks.

“A free press and public engagement with the media are critical to any healthy democracy, but stealing and leaking private, personal tax information strips individuals of the legal protection of their most sensitive data,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing recommending Littlejohn be sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison.

“I acted out of a sincere misguided belief,” Littlejohn said in court Monday, adding that he was serving the country and that people had a right to the tax information.

“We as a country make the best decisions when we are all properly informed,” Littlejohn said.

Littlejohn added that he was “aware of the potential consequences” of his actions and knew he would one day be here, in federal court, facing those consequences.

“My actions undermine the fragile faith,” in government institutions in the US, Littlejohn said.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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