Sam Brinton, recently celebrated by the Biden Energy Department as the “first gender fluid person in the federal government,” is facing felony charges and has been placed on leave after being accused of stealing luggage at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Brinton, 35, is due in district court in Hennepin County, Minnesota, on Dec. 19 on felony theft charges that carry a five-year prison term.
According to court documents, police used video surveillance to catch Brinton on Sept. 16 taking a woman’s hard-sided Vera Bradley roller suitcase from the airport’s baggage claim area.
Traveling to St. Paul from Washington on a different flight than the owner of the luggage, Brinton made the trip without any checked baggage but showed up at one of the luggage carousels and snatched the woman’s suitcase, according to a complaint.
Brinton removed the luggage tag and “left the area at a quick pace,” police said in the complaint.
Brinton checked into the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront hotel and left the next day with the bag, which was worth $2,325 including its contents, according to the victim.
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Police called Brinton on Oct. 9 and asked about taking the luggage. Brinton first claimed not to “know of” taking another person’s bag but later said the bag contained Brinton’s clothing.
“If I had taken the wrong bag, I am happy to return it, but I don’t have any clothes for another individual,” Brinton told police. “That was my clothes when I opened the bag.”
Brinton called the police two hours later “and apologized for not being ‘completely honest,’” claiming to take the bag by mistake and later realizing it belonged to someone else.
Brinton, police said, “got nervous people would think they stole the bag and did not know what to do” and claims to have left the clothing in the drawers of the hotel room.
The hotel said no clothes were found in the room.
Police said they “further questioned [Brinton] on why check the bag on September 18, and DEFENDANT responded they did not want to leave the bag in the hotel room, reasoning it was ‘weirder’ to leave a bag than the clothes.”
Brinton was instructed on how to return the luggage to Delta Air Lines, but the woman never got her suitcase back.
Brinton was hired to serve as deputy assistant secretary of spent fuel and waste disposition in the Energy Department’s office of nuclear energy and started the job this summer amid a furor over a history of social media posts displaying sexual fetishes.
One post showing Brinton standing over a man donning a dog collar and leash quickly went viral, as did pictures of Brinton wearing pink stilettos and sporting a red mohawk haircut.
Brinton began working at the agency on June 19, posting an in-office photo on Twitter wearing a red jumpsuit, bright lipstick and stiletto pumps decorated with the Stars and Stripes.
“As one of, if not the very first openly genderfluid individuals in federal government leadership, I was welcomed with open arms into the Department of Energy all the way up to the Secretary whom I shared the stage with in a Pride month celebration panel just today,” Brinton tweeted. “I intend to be serving my country in this role through many many presidencies.”
Brinton’s government career may be short-lived.
An Energy Department spokesman said in a statement to The Washington Times: “Sam Brinton is on leave from DOE, and Kim Petry is performing the duties of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition.”
Brinton’s job at the Energy Department did not require Senate approval. It is considered a nonpolitical position, but some saw Brinton’s hiring as an attempt by the Biden administration to take its pledge to diversify the federal government to an extreme by naming an activist to a high-level position.
Briton was hired after President Biden issued the 42-page National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which calls for a “whole of government approach” to close the gender gap and address other forms of discrimination that have harmed the LGBTQ community.
The paper calls on the government to address the impact of intersectional discrimination, which it describes as a combination of potential disadvantages, including race, gender and sexual orientation.
“Ensuring that all people have the opportunity to live up to their full potential, regardless of gender identity or other factors, is not only a moral imperative, it is a strategic imperative,” the document said.