A federal judge is keeping Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira locked up after prosecutors said the disgraced IT tech surfed the internet for mass murders and could be a juicy target for rogue nations.
Lawyers for the 21-year-old Cape Cod man said he should be free before trial and offered that he could remain under home confinement at his father’s home in North Dighton.
Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy, hearing the case in Worcester on Thursday, took the arguments under advisement.
Prosecutors argued Teixeira’s access to firearms and the potential that he is still in possession of classified information makes him a risk to release.
Teixeira, an E-3/Airman First Class stationed at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, is accused of leaking classified documents on the war in Ukraine. He was arrested at his family home in North Dighton on April 13, the day the allegations came to light.
He’s charged with unauthorized removal and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or materials.
Attorneys for Teixeira said the airman has stable family support and does not represent a risk of flight.
“He poses no danger of risk to his community,” said his attorney Brendan Kelley.
“You have a young man before you who didn’t flee, has nowhere to flee,” said Kelley, the defendant’s lawyer. “He will answer the charges, he will be judged by his fellow citizens.”
But Nadine Pellegrini, chief of national security division in the Massachusetts U.S. attorney’s office, told the judge the information prosecutors submitted to the court about the defendant’s threatening words and behavior “is not speculation, it is not hyperbole, nor is it the creation of a caricature. It is based on what we know to date … directly based upon the words and actions of this defendant.”
Kelley also argued that Teixeira didn’t think the highly classified material he was sharing with his gaming group would ever see wide distribution.
“Seriously,” the judge exclaimed, questioning how a young person in their twenties could believe something posted on the internet would never see wide release.
Hennessy added that he found it “incredible” that the defendant did not realize that.
Pelligrini argued further that Teixeira had taken vows as a member of the military not only to uphold laws and the Constitution, but specifically to protect the classified information he encountered in his job — and he had breached those agreements. His word and his promise were not to be trusted, she said.
A filing by the prosecution in support of its motion to keep Teixeira locked up contains a review of what it says are Teixeira social media posts, stating in November that he would “kill a (expletive) ton of people” if he had his way, because it would be “culling the weak minded.”
“There simply is no condition or combination of conditions that can ensure the Defendant will not further disclose additional information still in his knowledge or possession,” prosecutors wrote. “The damage the Defendant has already caused to the U.S. national security is immense. The damage the Defendant is still capable of causing is extraordinary.”
While Hennessey considers Teixeira’s appeal for release, he will remain held in custody.
Teixeira wore an orange prison jumpsuit in Thursday’s hearing at Federal Court in Worcester. He entered the courtroom in handcuffs which were removed during the hearing.
Teixeira’s father was in the courtroom and spoke to the court when questioned by Kelley about the potential conditions surrounding the possibility of home detention for his son.
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