Citing Trump case, Pentagon leak suspect Teixeira urges judge to release him pending trial

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Air National Guard member accused of leaking secret military documents challenged a judge’s decision to remain behind bars, pointing to former President Donald Trump’s bail on Monday and others charged in high-profile classified document cases.

An investigative judge who ruled in May that Jack Teixeira, 21, should remain behind bars while the case unfolds, found his release would put him at risk of him trying to flee the country or obstructing to justice. Teixeira’s lawyers are now asking another judge to overturn that decision.

In court papers, defense attorneys argued that Teixeira had no financial ability or incentive to flee, and claimed the government “grossly exaggerates Mr. Teixeira’s risk to national security.” -accused, Walt Nauta – even if the former president and his valet “possess extraordinary means to flee the United States”.

“Former President Trump and the Trump Organization own properties in several foreign countries, and former President Trump has access to a private aircraft. Yet the risk of leakage posed by their knowledge of national security information and ability abnormal to flee did not even result in a request for the surrender of their passports,” Teixeira’s lawyers wrote.

Lawyers for Teixeira wrote that the “disparate approach” in these cases – which are both charged under the Espionage Act – shows that “the government’s case for Mr. Teixeira’s detention on this basis is illusory”.

Teixeira pleaded not guilty last month to six counts of willfully withholding and transmitting national defense information. Each count carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Trump also pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges accusing him of hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and refusing government requests to return them. While Trump was not required to hand over a passport – prosecutors said he was not considered a flight risk – the magistrate ordered the former president not to discuss the deal with some witnesses. Trump denied any wrongdoing and attacked the prosecution as politically motivated.

Teixeira, of North Dighton, has been behind bars since his arrest in April on charges stemming from the biggest leak of information in years. His lawyers have suggested he be handed over to his father and largely confined to his home with location monitoring and no internet access.

Teixeira is accused of sharing classified military documents about Russia’s war in Ukraine and other sensitive national security topics on Discord, a social media platform popular with people playing online games.

Authorities say Teixeira, who enlisted in the Air National Guard in 2019, around January began sharing military secrets with other Discord users — first by typing classified documents, then sharing photos files bearing the SECRET and TOP SECRET marks. Teixeira worked as a “cyber transport systems specialist”, essentially a computer specialist responsible for military communications networks.

Authorities provided few details about an alleged possible motive, but accounts by members of the private online chat group where the documents were leaked described Teixeira as motivated more by bravado than ideology.

The judge’s decision to detain Teixeira came after Justice Department lawyers revealed in court documents a history of disturbing remarks online. He wrote in November that he would “kill a (expletive) ton of people” if he succeeded, as it would be “killing the weak-minded”. Prosecutors also argued that he said he may still have material that has not been released, which could be “of considerable value to hostile nation states that could offer him a safe haven. and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States”.

Teixeira’s attorneys wrote that there is no evidence that their client “ever materialized his conversations online or endangered anyone in his community.” They also said there was no evidence to suggest Teixeira is so valuable that a foreign adversary would be willing to smuggle him out of the country.

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