Ex-Senate staffer gets 2 months behind bars for lying to FBI

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Senate intelligence committee staffer was sentenced on Thursday to serve two months behind bars after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

James Wolfe, 58, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was the longtime director of security for the committee, one of multiple congressional panels investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. He pleaded guilty in October to a single charge in the three-count indictment against him.

Prosecutors said Wolfe told a reporter in October 2017 that he had served someone with a subpoena involving the Russia investigation and later lied about the exchange to FBI agents.

After the reporter published a story about the subpoena, Wolfe sent a message that read, “I’m glad you got the scoop,” according to the indictment.

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Prosecutors allege that although Wolfe wasn’t accused of leaking classified information, he had been in regular contact with several reporters who covered the committee, in violation of Senate rules. He also carried on a yearslong personal relationship with a reporter that he lied about until confronted with a photograph of himself and the journalist.

Wolfe’s lawyers have said their client deeply regrets his actions as well as violating his marital vows. Before his sentencing, three high-ranking senators — Democrats Mark Warner and Dianne Feinstein and Republican Richard Burr — asked the judge to show Wolfe leniency.

“Mr. Wolfe has paid and will continue to pay a very heavy price for his conduct. He lost his job and career, he betrayed his commitment to his wife and family and country,” his lawyers wrote in court papers ahead of his sentencing.

Prosecutors argued that Wolfe endangered national security by speaking with reporters.

They asked U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to diverge from federal sentencing guidelines and imprison Wolfe for two years. They alleged that Wolfe lied to federal agents so he wouldn’t lose his job and, in doing so, “caused significant disruption to a government function and significantly endangered the national security.”

In addition to the two-month jail sentence, Wolfe also will have to serve four months of supervised release, complete community service and pay a $7,500 fine.

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