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Ex-Biden Energy Department official Brinton gets no jail time in luggage theft plea deal

Brinton has been accused of stealing airport luggage on more than one occasion.

Published: April 14, 2023 11:50am

Updated: April 14, 2023 12:09pm

The former, top Biden Energy Department official caught stealing luggage from a Las Vegas airport has pleaded no contest in the case – resulting in the ex-official having to pay over $3,500 in restitution but not having to serve jail time.

The Sam Brinton – who was until his resignation last year was among the highest-ranking, non-binary officials in the federal government – was sentenced Wednesday in a Nevada court.

Under the agreement, Brinton agreed to a $3,670.74 in restitution to the victim and accept a suspended jail sentence of 180 days, meaning Brinton won't go to jail if the rules of probation are followed.

On July 6, 2022, a woman traveling from Dulles International Airport, in suburban Washington, D.C., to Reid Airport, in Las Vegas, claimed her luggage went missing from her United Airlines flight.

Four days later, she filed a police report in which she described the luggage as a hard-shelled, gray Away-brand suitcase worth over $300.

According to the arrest warrant issued for Brinton, a Las Vegas officer then reviewed airport security footage and observed "several nonverbal cues, or body language anomalies" from Brinton as he "pulled the victim’s luggage from the carousel and examined the tag."

The warrant also states Brinton "placed [the bag] back on the carousel, looking in all directions for anyone who might be watching or might approach," then took it back off of the luggage carousel, scanned the room again and "quickly" began leaving with the luggage in hand.

At first, police could not identify the suspect from any of their leads.

Then Brinton alleged stole luggage again, this time at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in September.

The Nevada warrant states that news stories related to the suspected Minnesota theft led to police to identify Brinton.

A review of Briton's Instagram account showed the former Biden administration official wearing the same T-shirt that he was seen in on airport surveillance the day of the crime.

Brinton served as the assistant secretary of the fuel and waste disposition office in Energy Department. Shortly after a warrant was put out for his arrest, Briton separated from the agency.

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