Treasury Official's Lawyer Says Manafort Leak Was 'Civic Duty'

(Bloomberg) -- A senior Treasury Department employee believes she was doing her "civic duty" when she gave secret government bank records about suspicious transactions involving Paul Manafort and accused Russian agent Maria Butina to a journalist, her lawyer said.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards was charged Oct. 16 with leaking Suspicious Activity Reports. She remains free on a $100,000 bond, following her first court appearance Friday in Manhattan.

"We’re here in New York; it’s the city that invented ‘if you see something, say something,’ and she saw something," her lawyer Marc Agnifilo said outside court. "She’s a lifelong public servant, she comes from a family of public servants, and I think the actions in this complaint are along those same lines."

Edwards didn’t leak the information for money, Agnifilo said. The details of her defense will be made later, he said.

"Maybe she made herself a little infamous, but I don’t think that’s what she wanted," Agnifilo said. "There’s nothing in this for her except the satisfaction of an American doing the right thing."

The Wall Street Journal reported Edwards is a Trump supporter, based on her social-media posts. But Agnifilo said he hadn’t spoken with her about her political views and didn’t yet know if they played a role.

Edwards initially appeared in court in Alexandria, Virginia, a day after her arrest. She is a senior adviser to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Information Network, or FinCEN, which targets illicit use of the U.S. financial system. The U.S. says she confessed to leaking the Suspicious Activity Reports, which banks file confidentially to alert investigators to potentially illegal transactions.

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