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Courage launches emergency appeal for Reality Winner

Alleged NSA leaker charged under Espionage Act, has pled not guilty

Courage has launched an emergency legal defence fund for Reality Winner, the first alleged whistleblower to be charged under the Trump Administration. The federal intelligence contractor from Georgia has been linked with the disclosure of an NSA report about Russian military intelligence’s efforts to hack US voting software in the 2016 presidential election.

Donations to Courage’s fund for Reality Winner can be made at

Winner, 25, worked as a translator for the US Air Force for six years before taking a job as a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation. She has been charged with mishandling and releasing classified information under the Espionage Act, a felony charge that carries a potential 10 years in prison.

Winner appeared in court in Augusta, Georgia on Thursday 8 June, where she pled not guilty. She was denied bail and will be back in court for a discovery hearing on Thursday 22 June.

Naomi Colvin, Beneficiary Case Director at Courage said:

It was only a matter of time before the Trump Administration brought the full force of an Espionage Act prosecution against someone who isn’t sufficiently high-ranking to leak with impunity. Reality Winner is pleading not guilty and recent history suggests she can expect to incur significant legal costs. Public support will as be vital in her case as it has been for Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

Andy Stepanian, an organizer with whom Courage co-hosted a demonstration for Reality the day before her arraignment, said:

Reality Winner is a compassionate young veteran who understands service and sacrifice. Her indictment may be only the first of many in the Trump Administration’s ‘war on leaks’ and it’s on all of us who value government transparency and accountability to make sure she is not fighting this battle alone.

Edward Snowden, Courage’s first beneficiary, spoke out via the Freedom of the Press Foundation when Reality’s arrest was announced:

The prosecution of any journalistic source without due consideration by the jury as to the harm or benefit of the journalistic activity is a fundamental threat to the free press. As long as a law like [the Espionage Act] remains on the books in a country that values fair trials, it must be resisted.