Reality Winner wants out of jail because of coronavirus

The Georgia woman received a record-setting sentence

Reality Leigh Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor sentenced to federal prison for leaking classified government information, has filed a petition for a compassionate release due to the coronavirus.

Winner has preexisting conditions that make her more susceptible to being infected with COVID-19, according to a motion filed Friday by defense attorney Joe Whitley in an August federal court, according to the Augusta Chronicle.


The motion says Winner has a history of respiratory illness and an eating disorder.

Winner, 28, is serving a sentence of five years and three months at Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, for a single count of transmitting national security information when she worked at a National Security Agency office in Georgia.

The prison is a "petri dish" for the new coronavirus that's run out of hand sanitizer and has no way to carry out proper social distancing or self-isolation, Whitley stated.

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The Bureau of Prison said two inmates at the prison tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Chronicle reported.

Earlier this year, Winner sought clemency from President Donald Trump. Her attorney, Alison Grinter Allen, announced in February an application with the Justice Department for early release that included about 4,500 letters of support.

Before she was arrested, Winner spent months unleashing a tirade of social media posts calling Trump, among other things, an “orange fascist” and “Tangerine in Chief.” Winner has said she voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

»MORE: Reality Winner gets record-setting prison sentence in NSA leak case

She also wrote in a notebook seized by authorities that she wanted to “burn the White House down” and then flee overseas, according to federal prosecutors.

The government prosecuted Winner under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law aimed at spies.

In a telephone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August 2018, Winner said she was not the leftist activist portrayed by her critics. She expressed regret for her actions, saying she was young, naive and frustrated at the two-party election system.

“I’m not sort of this bleeding-heart liberal Bernie (Sanders) supporter, either,” Winner told the AJC. “I’m so in the middle. I don’t even like to associate with either party. So it’s just so surreal to see this being polarized in such a way.

“To anybody that would say I’m a traitor, I would just welcome them to have a conversation with me,” she said.