Gender-fluid nuclear expert and Biden official loses job after airport luggage theft charges

Sam Brinton wearing a woman's suit jacket with necklace speaks outside the US capitol

Sam Brinton, a gender-fluid, high-ranking member of Joe Biden’s Department of Energy, has lost their job after being charged with two alleged luggage thefts at airports. 

It follows the nuclear engineering expert being on leave from their government post after being accused of stealing $2,000 worth of luggage from a baggage claim. 

Brinton initially denied taking someone else’s bag when contacted by police, but later said they had picked up the bag by mistake because they were tired. 

They claimed they were “nervous” people would think they had intentionally stolen the bag, and so decided to use it, leaving the bag’s contents in their Minneapolis hotel room. 

Brinton was charged with felony theft in October for the theft of a suitcase and its contents, worth more than $2,000, from baggage claim at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport the previous month. 

Their initial appearance in the Minnesota case is scheduled for February 2023.

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In December, they were charged with grand larceny based on accusations of stealing a suitcase and its contents from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.

Sam Brinton
Sam Brinton worked as the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition at the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. (Getty Images)

A Department of Energy spokesperson informed The Daily Beast that Brinton is no longer a DOE employee. 

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“By law, the Department of Energy cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

The news, which broke on Monday (12 December), follows several Republican senators demanding Brinton’s resignation in a letter sent this month to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Predictably, many anti-trans politicians also used the incident as an excuse to spew transphobia, with Donald Trump Jr tweeting: “Who could have seen this coming from they/them?”

It follows Brinton accepting Biden’s offer to serve as deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition at the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy on 10 January.

At the time they said: “In this role I’ll be doing what I always dreamed of doing, leading the effort to solve the nation’s nuclear waste challenges.”

A White House spokesperson emphasised to CNN that Brinton was not a White House appointee. “They are a career civil service employee,” the spokesperson said.

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