by Catherine Smith
A former senior Treasury Department official was sentenced to six months in prison for leaking thousands of confidential reports on financial transactions related to people tied to former President Donald Trump and Russia, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, 42, pleaded guilty last year to a conspiracy charge. According to federal prosecutors, Edwards leaked the confidential documents to BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold. Leopold then shared thousands of suspicious activity reports with publications worldwide.
Court documents reveal that beginning in 2017, she leaked banking reports related to people being investigated in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of foreign interference in U.S. elections. The material included reports concerning Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates, the Russian Embassy and Maria Butina, among others.
Prosecutors said she leaked more than 50,000 documents in total.
Her defense attorney Stephanie Carvlin claimed Edwards leaked the files as a whistleblower because the Treasury Department wasn’t properly handling them, according to Politico.
US District Judge Gregory H. Woods gave Edwards, who was arrested in 2018, six months prison time and three years of supervised release.
Edwards, in an eight-minute statement to the court, said she “could not stand by aimlessly” in the face of misconduct she saw at Treasury. Edwards also disclosed her Native American roots. “I am an indigenous, matriarch warrior whose spirit cannot be broken,” she said.
Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement following the sentencing that “[t]oday’s sentence demonstrates that public servants who abuse the power entrusted to them will face steep consequences for their actions. Maintaining the confidentiality of SARs, which are filed by banks and other financial institutions to alert law enforcement to potentially illegal transactions, is critical to preserve the integrity of myriad investigations, and the financial privacy of individuals.”
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Catherine Smith reports for American Greatness.
Photo “Paul Manafort” by Walt Disney Television CC BY-ND 2.0.