By Steve Neavling
A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide pleaded guilty on Monday to lying to the FBI about contacts with reporters covering the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling.
James A. Wolfe, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents in a December interview in which he denied providing unclassified but protected information about a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify before the committee.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop two similar charges and recommend what amounts to zero to six months in jail, The New York Times reports .
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 20.
Wolfe had been in charge of handling classified information provided to the committee for 28 years.
During the investigation, information was brought to light that investigators had violated Justice Department guidelines by secretly seizing years of records from a reporter’s phone and email without giving the required advance notices to the news organizations where she had worked.
Wolfe’s lawyers emphasized in a statement that their client had not been charged with leaking classified information.
“We have seen numerous distortions on social and other media of the facts of this matter,” they said. “So we emphasize again today that Jim was never charged with having compromised classified information, nor is such a charge part of today’s plea. Jim has accepted responsibility for his actions and has chosen to resolve this matter now so that he and his family can move forward with their lives.”