Fed up with leaks in Washington, President Trump vowed more than once that his administration would find out who they are and his promise paid dividends Monday when a former senior U.S. Treasury Department official pleaded guilty.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards was charged with conspiring to give a reporter confidential financial data about Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and others associated with the president’s campaign, according to Fox News.
Federal law enforcement officials said that in addition to Manafort, the transactions also involved former Trump campaign official Richard Gates, accused Russian agent Maria Butina and the Russian Embassy.
Edwards’ dramatic arrest took place in Oct. 2018, when she was apprehended with a USB flash drive full of sensitive documents in her hand. Prosecutors say it included “highly sensitive material relating to Russia, Iran, and the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”
Video via Fox News.
At the time federal law enforcement swooped in, Edwards was a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
After Edwards entered a guilty plea in a Manhattan federal court, U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods set sentencing for June 9, Fox News reported.
She faces a potential penalty of up to five years in prison but signed a plea deal with prosecutors that recommended a potential prison sentence of zero to six months.
“I transmitted a file containing or disclosing the existence of a SAR,” Edwards said in court. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I apologize to you, your honor, and the court.”
Given the circumstances, it seems an apology to President Trump and his campaign may also be in order.
Prosecutors said Edwards leaked information for a year, beginning in Oct. 2017.
She reportedly sent a BuzzFeed News reporter numerous Suspicious Activity Reports, which banks must file with the Treasury Dept. when questionable transactions that could indicate financial misconduct are spotted.
More from Fox News on Edwards’ actions:
She transmitted the SARs to the reporter by “taking photographs of them and texting the photographs” using an encrypted application, according to charging documents, which showed that Edwards eventually confessed to doing so. FBI agents obtained a pen register and trap-and-trace order for Edwards’ cellphone during their investigation.
Edwards additionally sent or described to the BuzzFeed News reporter internal government emails or correspondence related to the reports and investigative memos and intelligence assessments published by her agency’s intelligence division, prosecutors said.
As for Edwards’ motivations, her attorney Marc Agnifilo said his client believed that “certain critical facts” weren’t being handled right by the appropriate agencies, but he added federal prosecutors were “probably of the view that she was more politically motivated than she was for some conception like the good of our republic.”
Trump, who has called those leaking information “traitors and cowards,” has yet to comment on the case.
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