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Reality Winner home with her family

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The woman convicted of leaking classified information to an online news outlet has been released from a federal transitional halfway house in Texas.

Reality Winner has returned to her parents’ home in Texas, according to her attorney, Alison Grinter.

Winner was a National Security Agency contractor attached to Fort Gordon in May 2017 when she printed a document the government said contained national defense information. She sent the document to The Intercept, an online news organization.

In June, The Intercept published a report saying the document showed Russian attempts to interfere with U.S. elections by hacking local elections officials and a voter registration software company.

The document had been sent anonymously. When The Intercept attempted to verify the document was legitimate, marks on the document led the FBI to Winner.

Agents took her into custody and searched the home she rented on Battle Row.

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During her 2018 trial in U.S. District Court in Augusta, Winner pleaded guilty to “willful retention and transmission of national defense information.” She was imprisoned in San Antonio, Texas.

She was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Prosecutors said that was the longest sentence ever imposed by a federal court for an unauthorized release to the media of government information.

Winner’s family had launched a campaign calling for clemency. Her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, uses her Twitter account to continue fighting for her daughter, calling for a presidential pardon and asking people to sign a petition to “Stand with Reality.” 

Winner requested compassionate release in April 2020 as COVID-19 was reported in facility where she was being held. The request was denied. In June, older sister Brittany Winner announced on her Twitter account that Reality had tested positive for the virus.

Winner was released in June 2021 and transferred to the halfway house. Although released from the facility, her attorney said she remains under house confinement until Thanksgiving.

Dana Lynn McIntyre is a Staff Reporter with The Augusta Press. You can reach her at [email protected]

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