A former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) analyst on Tuesday admitted to unlawfully accessing, copying, and distributing the private emails of a Republican lobbyist and talk radio host Jack Burkman.
60-year-old Mark Tolson pleaded guilty to one count of accessing emails without authorization, a misdemeanor, for accessing the account of Republican lobbyist and talk radio host Jack Burkman, according to the Washington Post. Under the terms of the plea deal, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) analyst turned over two personal phones and two personal computers and agreed not to contact Burkman in the future.
Tolson was able to access Burkman’s emails through his wife, Sarah Gilbert Fox, who worked for Burkman from the end of 2017 until the summer of 2018 and had access to Jack Burkman’s private email account. Through his wife’s access to the account, Tolson learned about Burkman’s plan to publicly announce alleged sexual assault claims against Robert Mueller.
According to the report, Tolson asked Fox, who no longer worked for Burkman, to see if she could still get into Burkman’s account. After successfully accessing Burkman’s emails, the two reviewed, photographed, and printed “emails of interest,” before logging off. Tolson and his wife then reportedly contacted a reporter with the intent of sharing Burkman’s emails.
After speaking with the reporter, Tolson contacted an FBI agent and asked to meet regarding an “urgent” issue. The agent agreed and Tolson provided print-outs of Burkman’s emails when the two met later that day. Tolson told the agent he believed the contents of the emails could be illegal.
Prosecutors were asking for a short prison term, but Tolson’s attorney argued that losing his position with the FBI was punishment enough.
“There was no other motivation here other than to protect Mueller,” Tolson’s attorney argued.
Judge Brinkema said Tolson “had to have known” that what he was doing was wrong, but ultimately sentenced Tolson to seven days in jail and 50 hours of community service, to be served after the holidays.
With the Democrats insisting on impeaching President Trump claiming ‘no one is above the law,’ Tolson’s lenient sentence has certainly raised eyebrows.
Sentences for crimes of this sort can vary, but even misdemeanor charges for any sort of hacking-related crimes can and usually carry a punishment of up to six months in prison.
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