Biden Official Makes History: The First Nonbinary Federal Official To Face Felony Theft Charges

Biden energy official Sam Brinton (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Playboy)
November 29, 2022

A top Biden administration official made history as the first nonbinary federal official to face felony charges after swiping a women’s suitcase from an airport.

Sam Brinton was charged last month with swiping a suitcase of women’s clothes from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport in September, less than five months after assuming the post of deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition at the Department of Energy. The stolen Vera Bradley suitcase along with its contents were worth $2,325, according to a criminal complaint.

Brinton, who identifies as "genderfluid" and uses they/them pronouns, was charged with felony theft on Oct. 27 and faces up to five years in prison, Alpha News reported Monday. Prior to joining the Biden administration, Brinton was known for promoting sexual fetishes and tying his partners up like dogs. At the Energy Department, Brenton oversees the disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste.

Video surveillance footage captured Brinton removing a woman’s luggage from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport luggage carousel on Sept. 18 and swiftly concealing its bag tag in a handbag. The federal official did not check a bag when departing a Washington, D.C., airport earlier that day, the criminal complaint states. Brinton was later seen with the same Vera Bradley suitcase on Oct. 9 when arriving at Washington Dulles Airport on a return trip from Europe, according to the complaint.

Brinton concocted several conflicting stories when confronted by a Minnesota police officer on Oct. 9, the criminal complaint states. Brinton initially denied taking the suitcase when first contacted by the officer over the phone. The federal official then admitted to taking the suitcase, but said "my clothes" were in the bag.

Brinton changed stories again later that day, calling the officer back and apologizing for not being "completely honest." The federal official then claimed to have accidentally taken the bag and left the clothes in a Minneapolis hotel room. Brinton claims to have kept the stolen luggage because it would have been "weirder" to leave a bag than the clothes, the criminal complaint states.

The officer then instructed Brinton to return the woman's property to the airport. As of Oct. 27, when the criminal complaint was filed, Brinton had not returned the suitcase.

Brinton was placed on a leave of absence from the Department of Energy shortly after being charged with felony theft, according to Exchange Monitor. Brinton’s replacement, acting deputy assistant secretary for spent fuel Kim Petry, notified her colleagues on Nov. 18 that she would be leading the office "for the foreseeable future."

"I should have another update for all of you in a month or so," Petry said. The timeline matches with Brinton’s scheduled hearing in Minneapolis on Dec. 19.