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Reality Winner Makes Plea, Mother 'Disagrees Strongly'

But Winner 'will accept the consequences,' mom says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2018 2:30 PM CDT
This June 2017 file photo released by the Lincoln County, Ga., Sheriff's Office, shows Reality Winner.   (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) – More than a year after her arrest, Reality Leigh Winner is pleading guilty. The former NSA contractor—who allegedly supplied the media with secret intel on Russians hacking US voting systems—planned to enter her plea agreement Friday in federal court, Engadget reports. "I do know that she has always been ready and willing to accept responsibility for any wrongdoing, and that she will accept the consequences," her mother Billie Winnie Davis says in a statement. The 26-year-old Air Force veteran was denied bail and spent a year in jail after the Intercept ran a bombshell NSA report detailing Russian hacking of a voting equipment vendor and attempts to hack 122 local election officials.

Emails obtained through FOIA requests show that local officials didn't know about the hack until it leaked to the press. But as Winner became a political lightning rod, she lost several court battles and faced 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine for espionage, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. Now comes her guilty plea, which remains under wraps. "I still disagree strongly with the use of the Espionage charge against citizens" like Reality, her mother says. "The use of the Espionage charge prevents a person from defending themselves or explaining their actions to a jury, thus making it difficult for them to receive a fair trial and treatment in the court system." (Per one report, 39 states saw Russians intrude on US elections.)

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