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Photo: Ross Lewis/Getty Images

Former Treasury official Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards was sentenced to six months in prison on Thursday for leaking thousands of pages of confidential financial reports to multiple media organizations, Politico reports.

Why it matters: "Edwards’ sentencing ... comes amid renewed scrutiny of the Justice Department’s policies in leak cases," Politico writes. The documents were used by media organizations, including BuzzFeed News, to report stories related to former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of then-President Trump's ties to Russia and global banking institutions' business with suspicious clients.

The state of play: Edwards pleaded guilty in 2020 to one count of conspiracy for filing unauthorized suspicious activity reports (SARs), which financial institutions use to alert the U.S. government of "potential criminal activity," Buzzfeed reports.

The big picture: Edwards addressed the court before her sentencing, saying she had been unable to "stand by aimlessly" while witnessing corruption in the Trump administration," per Buzzfeed.

  • “I understand and accept that a lot of information was made available to the public. I do apologize for that," she added, as reported by Politico.

What to watch: Edwards has until August 2 to turn herself in to the authorities, and her prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release, according to Buzzfeed.

Go deeper

Aug 30, 2021 - Science

Louisiana governor says damage from Hurricane Ida is "catastrophic"

A person looking over damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Kenner, La., on Aug. 30. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday the damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the state on record, "is really catastrophic."

The latest: New Orleans' emergency services are back online and working to respond with power still out. The city has warned residents to beware of downed power lines, flood waters and storm debris.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.