(NEW YORK) — The Air National Guardsman accused of accessing classified information and posting it in an online forum filed a new motion in court on Monday, asking the judge in his case to treat him like former President Donald Trump and not require he remain in jail until trial.
Attorneys for Jack Teixeira, are arguing in the new filing that federal prosecutors made a “reasoned decision not to seek pretrial detention in other espionage cases, including most recently for either former President Donald Trump or his personal aid, Waltine Nauta,” who are also charged under the Espionage Act.
Teixeira has been held without bail since his April arrest. A federal magistrate said he represented a threat to national security and could be an attractive recruit for foreign intelligence agencies seeking his knowledge of classified material.
Defense attorneys argued in Monday’s filing that Teixeira is entitled to pretrial release because he is not a serious risk of flight.
“Prior to his arrest, Mr. Teixeira believed that his apprehension was imminent. If Mr. Teixeira was inclined to flee from law enforcement and his country, he would have done so at that time. Instead, without any judicial restraints or obligations, Mr. Teixeira chose to stay at his mother’s house, reading, expecting law enforcement to arrest him,” defense attorneys wrote.
Teixeira’s legal team also argued he should be treated like former President Trump, who was released on his own recognizance after he pleaded not guilty to charges of mishandling classified documents and obstructing the effort to return them.
“Former President Trump and The Trump Organization own properties in multiple foreign countries, and former President Trump has access to a private plane. Yet, the risk of flight posed by their knowledge of national security information, and their abnormal ability to flee, didn’t even result in a request that either surrender their passport. The government’s disparate approach to pretrial release in these cases demonstrates that its argument for Mr. Teixeira’s pretrial detention based on knowledge he allegedly retains is illusory,” the defense filing said.
Teixeira has pleaded not guilty to a six-count federal indictment. There is a hearing in the case next week in Boston federal court.
The six-count indictment, released in June, revealed the kind of classified information Teixeria allegedly accessed and posted to an online gaming platform, including “information regarding the provision of equipment to Ukraine, how the equipment would be transferred, and how the equipment would be used upon receipt.”
There was also a government document discussing a plot by a foreign adversary to target United States forces abroad,” according to the June indictment.
Teixeira enlisted in the Air National Guard on Sept. 26, 2019, according to his service record, and had Top Secret security clearance since 2021, according to the DOJ. He began posting classified documents online in January 2022, according to the Justice Department.
The Air National Guardsman was first detained in May to await his trial. The judge rejected Teixeira’s appeal for pre-trial release by saying the 21-year-old was responsible for a “profound breach” that put at risk “a list as long as a phone book.”
Despite defense objections, the judge said he took seriously the argument federal prosecutors made that, if released, Teixeira could be lured by an American adversary to give up sensitive information.
“I understand it smacks of a spy novel, but I honestly think the government has the better argument here,” the judge said. “Foreign countries know this defendant was disloyal to the United States.”
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