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Treasury adviser pleads guilty to making unauthorized disclosures in case involving Manafort

A senior adviser to the Treasury Department on Monday pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully leak information about President Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort to the media, according to Bloomberg.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to conspiring to make unauthorized disclosures while she was working at the department’s Financial Crimes Information Network.

Edwards had been charged with leaking Suspicious Activity Reports to a journalist. In January, her attorney reportedly defended her actions as civic whistleblowing and said the federal government was targeting her for “doing the right thing.”

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The Justice Department’s prosecution of Edwards and former Internal Revenue Service analyst John Fry, who pleaded guilty to leaking Suspicious Activity Reports pertaining to Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, represent an escalation against leaks to the media, according to Bloomberg.

Federal prosecutors said Edwards leaked data relating to payments connected to Manafort and the Trump campaign’s former deputy manager Rick Gates, as well as Prevezon Holdings, a Russian company linked to money laundering and gun-rights activist Maria Butina, who pled guilty to conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

The filing does not specify which reporter or outlet Edwards allegedly leaked to, but cites materials published by BuzzFeed.

Manafort was convicted in August 2018 of lying to officials regarding his earnings as a political consultant in Ukraine and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegal lobbying and money laundering, and was sentenced to a total of seven-and-a-half years. Gates, who went on to serve as a witness for former special counsel Robert Mueller, pleaded guilty to false statements and conspiracy and was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

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