Suspected BuzzFeed Leaker Released on $100K Bond

MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal magistrate set a $100,000 bond Friday that freed a former Treasury official charged with providing BuzzFeed with thousands of files tied to the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

This image provided by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Department shows a mug shot of Natalie Mayflower Edwards. A former employee of the Treasury Department, Edwards is accused of leaking confidential banking reports of suspects charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. (Alexandria Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Before her arrest last month, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards is said to have told investigators that she was a whistleblower. Prosecutors have linked the onetime senior official at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network with a leak that included information about President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, disgraced lobbyist Richard Gates and accused spy Maria Butina.

Pointing to social media accounts that show Edwards to be a Trump supporter meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that her leaks affected the investigation into Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen.

When Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and other charges, the lawyer implicated the president in making two illicit payments to women “for the purpose of influencing the election.”

Edwards is represented by attorney Marc Agnifilo, a partner at Brafman & Associates.

After the hearing, Agnifilo told reporters that his client’s case poses the question: “Is she trying to hurt the government or help the country?”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn set another hearing in Edwards’ case for Dec. 2.

A resident of Quinton, Virginia, 40-year-old Edwards is charged with one count each of unauthorized disclosures of suspicious-activity reports and conspiracy to make unauthorized disclosures of suspicious-activity reports. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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