U.S. Air Force veteran Reality Winner — the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration for leaking government information — pleaded guilty Tuesday to espionage for leaking a classified document detailing Russian efforts to hack into state election systems to an online news magazine.
“She pled guilty to willful retention and transmission of national defense information,” said Billie Jean Winner-Davis.
Winner’s lead defense attorney, Baker Donelson partner and former general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Joe Whitley, said in a written statement after Winner’s plea, “She has taken this matter seriously, and has made a very difficult decision that will no doubt impact the rest of her life.”
“Obviously, her final sentencing is still pending, and she has a number of conditions and restrictions in her plea agreement that she is committed to honoring,” Whitley said. “However, Reality wishes to thank the numerous individuals and organizations who have supported her through this process.”
Winner, jailed without bond since her arrest more than a year ago at her Augusta, Georgia, home, pleaded guilty as part of a deal with federal prosecutors, who recommended a 63-month sentence followed by three years of supervised release, Winner-Davis said.