PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Robert Barnes, a California based lawyer familiar with tax defense cases, said the New York Times broke the law by publishing tax information revealing Donald Trump lost $916 million in 1995 that they received in the mail anonymously.

Barnes, during an interview with Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, insisted they were aware it was against the law in advance.

“There is some controversy about exactly what the scope is of permissible activities by newspapers, but by the New York Times own admission and by the Executive Editor’s own admission and by Bob Woodward’s own admission, they knew what they were doing was criminal.”

He explained that their Executive Editor had previously declared he would publish any information the paper received related to the Republican nominee’s taxes, regardless of the legality of such actions.

“They would be violating federal law by publishing it, even if all they had done was receive it anonymously in the mail. That’s exactly what Bob Woodward acknowledged at the Harvard forum where the Executive Editor for the New York Times was present about a month an a half ago. Woodward had gone to his lawyers at the Washington Post and asked them what happens if we get the tax return information? Can we publish it? They said no, it would be a crime. Woodward actually brought that up and [Dean] Baquet, the Executive Editor for the New York Times didn’t dispute that. He just said he would publish it anyway. But the second problem here, from a legal perspective, is that by making public statements saying you’re going to publish information if it’s illegally obtained in advance of receiving that information, it creates an argument that anyone can either, Mr Trump or the government prosecutor, could use to say you deliberately and willfully solicited that illegal activity.”

Barnes also stated the Times has suggested prosecuting others for the same offense.

“Had the New York Times simply received it and not encouraged it or solicited it, they would have been better off. Because they went, adding the act of soliciting it, they’ve created a real problem for themselves, one they themselves have acknowledged in the Julian Assange case because they’ve suggested that Assange can be criminally prosecuted by the Obama Administration. Well, how is it Assange could be prosecuted, but the New York Times could not?”