Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, the U.S. Treasury Department employee accused of leaking confidential information related to the Mueller probe, may not have to wait until her January 21, 2020 court date for her case to be resolved. According to Courthouse News reporter Adam Klasfeld, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richenthal mentioned a “potential disposition” of the case during a status conference held Thursday morning.
One obvious way of resolving the case without going to trial would be a plea deal.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, the government’s initial charging documents accuse Edwards of disclosing “suspicious activity reports” (SARs) related to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Manafort associate Rick Gates to a BuzzFeed reporter, starting in Oct. 2017. The laws on SARs and what employees may and may not do with them is abundantly clear. Edwards allegedly confessed to giving the BuzzFeed reporter the SARs, but claimed she thought the reporter wouldn’t publish them. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges thus far.
Federal authorities said that Edwards saved a whopping 24,000 SARs on a department-issued thumb drive. The majority of these files were saved to a folder named “Debacle – Operation-CF,” which contained subfolders named “asshat,” “debacle,” and “emails.”
In their criminal complaint against Edwards in October of 2018, federal authorities highlighted the actions of a co-conspirator, identified as an Associate Director at Treasury, whom they allege exchanged more than 300 messages with the reporter via an encrypted messaging app.
Additional charging documents filed against Edwards in January of 2019 revealed that she had sent a message to the same reporter in 2018 regarding a different Treasury Department employee referred to as “Enigma,” who was willing and able to “pull the data quick” for the reporter. Per the latest charging documents, Edwards previously told the reporter that Enigma was a person with a “wealth of information,” who was “willing to verify any information you have and provide additional details as warranted.”
Edwards’ trial is currently scheduled to begin on January 21, 2020 in the Southern District of New York.
Editor’s note: this story was updated after publication to correct the name of the U.S. Attorney who made the remark about the “potential disposition.”
[Image via Alexandria Sheriff’s Office]
Matt Naham contributed to this report.