Accused Discord leaker Jack Teixeira argues he should be let out of jail as he awaits his classified documents trial, citing Trump’s release

CNN Newsource Pristine Villarreal

(CNN) — The Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who is accused of posting a trove of classified documents to social media asked a judge to reconsider his detention on Monday, pointing out that he is charged with the same federal counts as former President Donald Trump and that prosecutors did not oppose Trump’s release.

In May, a Massachusetts judge ruled that 21-year-old Jack Teixeira would be held in jail while he awaits trial for charges under the Espionage Act after prosecutors argued he callously mishandled highly sensitive national security information during his short tenure in the National Guard. The magistrate judge, David Hennessy, said that Teixeira posed a continued threat to national security.

Teixeira’s lawyers argued in a new filing on Monday that a judge should reverse a decision to keep Teixeira detained, pointing to several other criminal defendants who were released while awaiting trial, including Trump and his co-defendant Walt Nauta.

“The speculation that Mr. Teixeira is a flight risk by virtue of what he knows is squarely undermined by the government’s reasoned decision not to seek pretrial detention in other espionage cases, including most recently for either former President Donald Trump or his personal aide, Waltine Nauta, both charged with, among other things, mishandling classified national security information and conspiracy to obstruct justice,” Teixeira’s lawyers wrote.

His lawyers also said about Trump and Nauta: “The government – without any suggestion that the information known to them could make them a serious risk of flight – determined that their retained knowledge did not pose a serious risk of flight and advocated for their release on personal recognizance and without restriction.”

Furthermore, the defense lawyers wrote, both Trump and Nauta “possess extraordinary means to flee the United States. … 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,” Teixeira’s lawyers wrote.

Teixeira has pleaded not guilty to several federal charges. Trump and Nauta also have pleaded not guilty in their criminal case.

Still, the situations have crucial differences.

When arguing for his detention previously, prosecutors told the judge Teixeira faced “the loss of his livelihood.”

The 21-year-old had a net worth of less than $20,000 before his arrest and, if convicted, could lose much of his ability to be employed – making him an attractive target to foreign adversaries who may want to recruit him.

“If an adversary or even an ideological supporter provided the means and the opportunity to evade the reach of U.S. law, there is nothing to suggest that – like others before him – the Defendant would not accept the opportunity to flee,” the Justice Department argued in April.

Trump, who is running for president for the third time and is among the most recognizable people in the world, can travel freely and didn’t have to relinquish his passport as he and Nauta await trial.

According to charging documents, Teixeira held a top secret security clearance and allegedly began posting information about classified documents online around December 2022, and photos of documents in January. The documents, some of which have been reviewed by CNN, included a wide range of highly classified information, including eavesdropping on key allies and adversaries and blunt assessments on the state of the Ukraine war.

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