Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor charged with espionage in 2013 after releasing classified documents on U.S. surveillance programs, has agreed to pay more than $5 million in profits from his book and speaking fees to the U.S. government, CNN reported Monday.
A federal judge ruled in favor of the Justice Department in a 2019 lawsuit filed against Snowden that argued the whistleblower’s autobiography, "Permanent Record," violated a nondisclosure agreement, according to court records.
As of this month, Snowden has earned approximately $4.2 million from book sales, royalties and related rights, according to CNN. The court filing from the Justice Department claims that Snowden’s 56 paid speeches included information that violated his government secrecy agreement.
CNN reported that the money will be put into a trust based on a plan agreed on by Snowden and the Trump administration.
The court decision comes after President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE said last month that he was “looking at” pardoning Snowden, despite calling Snowden a "terrible threat" and a "terrible traitor” in 2013.
“There are many, many people — It seems to be a split decision that many people think that he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things,” Trump said of Snowden at a news conference at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “And I’m going to take a very good look at it.”
Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMichael Cohen officially released from prison sentence Incoming NAACP Legal Defense Fund president sees progress against 'revitalized mission to advance white supremacy' Fox's Bartiromo called Bill Barr 'screaming' about election fraud: book MORE told The Associated Press last month that he is “vehemently opposed” to a potential Snowden pardon.
An attorney for Snowden told CNN that the whistleblower is looking to appeal the judge’s prior ruling that argued Snowden should be held liable for the information published in his book.
"This is not like he's going to fork over the money,” attorney Lawrence Lustberg told CNN. “This gives them a judgment they were going to get anyways.”