In a case similar to the federal prosecution of Donald Trump, a former F.B.I. employee pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Espionage Act and received close to four years in prison on Wednesday, The New York Times reports. The employee, Kendra Kingsbury, was an intelligence analyst. One of the charges included willful retention of national security documents, which is included in the case against Trump. Prosecutors said she removed sensitive documents and that some would have revealed the “government’s most important and secretive methods of collecting essential national security intelligence.” Her case and punishment may show how aggressively the Justice Department will pursue its case against Trump. Trump faces 31 counts of willfully retaining national defense secrets. The former president has also been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly scheming to hide information from the government and lying to investigators.
Kingsbury’s lawyer attributed her behavior to a series of underlying events, including serious health problems she experienced after she began working with the FBI in 2004 and several deaths in the family. Her lawyer argued that Kingsbury should receive probation because of her lack of a criminal record, her admission to the FBI that she had the materials and her allowing agents to search her house. Prosecutors said she revealed she had the documents only after she suspected she was being surveilled and that she declined to explain, when given the chance after she was indicted, why she took the classified materials home and how she had used them. Prosecutors also disclosed agents learned that Kingsbury had contacted subjects of FBI counterterrorism investigations. Before he sentenced Kingsbury, U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough of Kansas City, Mo., agreed with prosecutors that “we will never ever know what took place.”