breaking news

Amid frigid temps, Gov. Deal issues emergency declaration

Former prosecutors join accused NSA leaker’s legal defense team


A former top U.S. Justice Department official and a former federal prosecutor have joined Reality Winner’s legal defense team in the National Security Agency leak investigation.

Joe Whitley, who served as the acting associate U.S. attorney general during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, is a partner with the Atlanta law firm of Baker Donelson. He also worked as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s general counsel and served as a federal prosecutor in Georgia. Joining Whitley is Matthew Chester, a former assistant U.S. attorney who works for the same law firm in New Orleans. 

They are teaming up with John Bell and Titus Nichols of Bell & Brigham in Augusta. The attorneys joined the case after First Look Media, the parent company of The Intercept online news outlet, announced this month that it would help Winner’s legal defense. First Look said its Press Freedom Defense Fund would provide $50,000 in matching funds to Stand With Reality, a nonprofit campaign to support Winner’s case through advocacy and fundraising. 

RELATED: Owner of The Intercept assisting accused NSA leaker’s legal defense

The U.S. Justice Department has accused Winner of leaking to The Intercept a top-secret NSA report about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The Intercept published the report, which says Russian military intelligence officials tried to hack into the U.S. voting system just before last November’s election. 

A federal grand jury has indicted Winner, 25, on a single count of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information.” She faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Winner, who is being held in the Lincoln County Jail, has pleaded not guilty to the charge. 

Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis, released a statement to Stand With Reality about the new attorneys joining her daughter’s defense team. 

“I am very excited about Mr. Whitley joining Reality’s defense team,” she said, “as he appears to have extensive experience. His background with homeland security should be helpful.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Fulton County government closed Wednesday for inclement weather
Fulton County government closed Wednesday for inclement weather

All Fulton County government offices will be closed Wednesday, due to the potential for ice and snow. All courts in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit will also be closed, and jurors should not report. For updated information about closings, see www.fultoncountyga.gov or @FultonInfo on Facebook and Twitter.
Georgia man who set ex-girlfriend on fire sentenced to life in prison
Georgia man who set ex-girlfriend on fire sentenced to life in prison

A Georgia man who poured gasoline on his ex-girlfriend and set her on fire was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole, according to the Clayton County District Attorney’s office.  Mervin Woodard, 40, was found guilty of multiple felonies in the 2016 crime, which left Melita Curtis in a coma for two weeks. Curtis was...
Who is White House physician Ronny L. Jackson?
Who is White House physician Ronny L. Jackson?

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson became physician to the president in 2013, when he was appointed by President Barack Obama. It’s a position that has been around since George Washington became president, but it did not become official until Congress created the title in 1928.  Jackson is the 18th person to hold the position, which is...
White House physician releases official report with details of president’s exam
White House physician releases official report with details of president’s exam

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the physician to the president, released the particulars of President Donald Trump’s physical exam in an official report Tuesday. It was Trump’s first periodical physical as president and was conducted last Friday at the Walter Reed Army National Military Medical Center. The results were released with...
Atlanta gets third round of winter, snow and freezing temperatures
Atlanta gets third round of winter, snow and freezing temperatures

Long before the first drop or snowflake fell, metro Atlanta was going through the familiar motions: Road crews were treating roads, schools cancelled evening activities and commuters rushed to get off the road early. Then, it was time to wait. By Tuesday’s evening rush hour, what was expected to be Georgia’s third wintry storm since December...
More Stories