Trial of accused leaker Reality Winner set for October
AUGUSTA, Georgia (CNN) — Among the possible evidence in the government’s case against former federal contractor Reality Winner is a notebook with information handwritten in Farsi, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.
The writing is being translated, federal prosecutors told a judge at a hearing.
Winner, who is accused on one count of taking classified information home from work and leaking it to a media outlet, remains in jail awaiting an anticipated October 23 trial.
She has pleaded not guilty.
Winner was a linguist while in the US Air Force from 2010 to 2016 and speaks Farsi, Dari and Pashto, her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, has said.
The notebook in question came from her workspace at Pluribus International Corp. in Augusta, prosecutors said. It is part of a collection of material in the case beyond the documents allegedly leaked to the Intercept, an online news outlet.
Authorities are also examining two laptops, a tablet and four cellphones seized from Winner’s home in Augusta, and are reviewing an interview she gave the FBI before her arrest earlier this month.
The 25-year-old federal contractor was charged with leaking information regarding a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack to The Intercept.
She is accused of revealing classified information, including a classified National Security Agency memo. The NSA report, dated May 5, provides details of a cyberattack on a US voting software supplier, though there is no evidence the hack affected any votes. Winner was arrested the same day the Intercept published its report.
Her court-appointed attorney, Titus Nichols, previously cast doubt on the government’s side of the story. He also questioned her purported confession: “The bigger issue is: Was my client interrogated without her attorney?” he said.
Official to help with motions on classified information
Attorneys discussed Tuesday how classified information will be handled in the case.
US Magistrate Judge Brian Epps said a classified information security officer will be involved in the pretrial discovery.
Carli Rodriguez-Feo, of the Justice Department’s Litigation Security Group, will help with motions and orders connected to classified documents, the judge said.
“The primary purpose of the protective order is just to create parameters for us, so that if there’s any type of information that is classified at any level, everyone knows what the rules of engagement will be,” Nichols told CNN affiliate WRDW after the hearing.
Attorneys should receive security clearance by August 25, Epps added.
Epps also said he wants the trial to start as soon as possible, preferably in October. Winner, he noted, has no prior convictions and, at this point, only one charge against her.
The charge, willful retention and transmission of national defense information, could bring Winner up to 10 years in prison. She could also face a fine of up to $250,000.