Reality Winner, jailed for leaking secrets about Russia hacking, asks Trump for clemency

Ben Kesslen

Lawyers for Reality Winner, the former NSA contractor who was sentenced to more than five years in prison after leaking classified information about Russian hacking, announced Monday they are seeking clemency from President Trump.

Winner, now 28, was sentenced in 2018 after leaking U.S. secrets about Russia's attempts to hack the 2016 presidential election to the news outlet, The Intercept. The sentence was the longest ever at the time for a federal crime involving leaks to the media. Winner pleaded guilty to leaking a classified report that detailed the Russian government's efforts to penetrate a Florida-based voting software supplier.

At the Monday news conference, Winner's legal team said they filed a formal petition for commutation with the Justice Department, saying Winner had "suffered enough" and calling on the president to "do the right thing." Winner's family is hoping she will be pardoned or granted clemency, and hope Trump will show her mercy.

Trump has previously criticized Winner's sentence, calling it "so unfair" and criticizing the Justice Department for handing down the sentence. "Gee, this is 'small potatoes' compared to what Hillary Clinton did," the President wrote on Twitter in 2018.

Billie Winner-Davis, Reality Winner's mother, said her daughter's health and well-being is at stake while she remains in prison, adding Winner is "losing hope."

“Reality is not receiving any kind of treatment or care for her anxiety or her bulimia," Winner-Davis said. "Every day that passes, I feel like we are losing a little piece of my daughter and who she is."

Winner-Davis said her daughter is "not a threat to anyone" and "doesn't deserve this."

Gary Davis, Winner's stepfather, said he feels like she has been "singled out."

"She was nobody and they used her for a patsy and an example," he said.