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Former Senate intel staffer sentenced to two months in prison for lying to FBI

A federal judge sentenced former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe to two months prison Thur...

Posted: Dec 21, 2018 8:14 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2018 8:14 AM

A federal judge sentenced former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe to two months prison Thursday, following a guilty plea in October for lying to the FBI about media contacts.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson also fined Wolfe $7,500. She is allowing him to self-surrender to prison and will recommend minimum security in Cumberland, Maryland.

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"It saddens me to stand here before you today. ... I'm not sure it's possible to feel any lower than I do right at this moment," Wolfe said in court before he was sentenced. "I am sorry. I am beyond embarrassed. I am beyond humiliated. I am beyond mortified."

Jackson rebuffed a request from prosecutors for an expansive sentence but ultimately agreed some prison time was necessary both as a punishment for Wolfe and a "deterrence" factor.

"There is no question that you have committed a serious crime," Jackson said.

Wolfe had been arrested and indicted this summer for lying to the FBI about media contacts during an investigation into unlawful disclosure of classified information. After Wolfe's arrest, President Donald Trump claimed that law enforcement had "caught a leaker."

Wolfe maintained during his emotional statement ahead of his sentencing that he had "never compromised classified information," but apologized to his family and former colleagues.

An attorney for Wolfe referenced the President's support for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, noting that Wolfe came to court without a "good luck tweet," and said in filings ahead of Thursday's hearing that Trump's attack and media coverage of Wolfe's legal saga had already been a form of punishment outside of incarceration.

The prospect of a high-profile trial after Wolfe's arrest raised eyebrows, and CNN reported, citing Senate sources, that the longtime staffer had reached out privately to senators for their help. But the guilty plea ultimately staved off the possibility of testimony or even subpoenas for journalists, lawmakers and Capitol Hill staffers.

The case also sparked a debate about the press and the extent to which the government was willing to go in its leak investigations.

The New York Times reported at the time of Wolfe's indictment that federal authorities had seized phone and email records from reporter Ali Watkins, who had previously been in a relationship with Wolfe.

Referencing the affair and Wolfe's admitted lies to the FBI about that relationship and other contacts with the press, prosecutors called for his conduct to be considered as part of his sentencing.

Wolfe's attorneys requested no prison time and suggested probation and community service instead. In support of his request for no prison time, they submitted letters of support from the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee as well as former top officials, including former President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Wolfe's attorneys also compared his request for no prison time to lenient sentences received by defendants in the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller, including Alex van der Zwaan and George Papadopoulos.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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