A former contractor who worked with the Internal Revenue Service until 2021 was accused of disclosing tax return information of a high-ranking government official and "thousands of the nation's wealthiest people" without authorization, according to criminal information filed Friday in Washington, D.C.
Although the court documents do not reveal the name of the government official, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News that it is former President Donald Trump.
Charles Littlejohn, 38, of Washington, D.C., allegedly obtained Trump's tax return information and gave it to a news organization, the court documents said. He has been accused of one count of unauthorized disclosure of tax returns and return information, and if he's convicted, he could face a maximum five years in prison.
The government also alleges that Littlejohn took tax return information belonging to thousands of the richest people in the country and disclosed it to a different news organization.
Prosecutors said the news organizations — which the person familiar with the matter confirmed were The New York Times and Pro Publica — published "numerous articles" based on the information obtained from Littlejohn, according to the court documents.
An attorney for Littlejohn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for Trump has also not yet responded to a request for comment.
The New York Times and Pro Publica have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Pro Publica said in a statement to CBS News, "We have no comment on today's announcement from the DOJ. 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."
The New York Times declined to comment. But when the Times published its extensive reporting on Trump's tax returns in September 2020, then-editor Dean Baquet wrote, "Some will raise questions about publishing the president's personal tax information. But the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment allows the press to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained by reporters even when those in power fight to keep it hidden. That powerful principle of the First Amendment applies here."
Ryan Sprouse contributed reporting.
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