Pentagon leak suspect Jack Teixeira requests release from detention ahead of hearing


(WORCESTER, Mass.) — The Massachusetts airman accused of leaking highly classified U.S. intelligence documents is asking a magistrate judge to release him from pretrial detention on the “least restrictive conditions,” accusing the government of engaging in “hyperbolic judgments” and denying he poses a risk of flight or obstructing justice in his case.

Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, will appear at a detention hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday in Worcester, Massachusetts. The federal magistrate judge assigned to the case, David Hennessy, will hear arguments about whether Teixeira should be kept in federal custody ahead of his trial.

Teixeira’s public defender argued in a new filing that even if the magistrate judge finds he poses a risk of flight or obstruction, Teixeira should still be permitted to remain out of pretrial detention in the custody of his father or confined to a home with the presence of either his father, mother, stepfather, Air Force personnel or his lawyers.

Teixeira’s lawyer, Allen Franco, also suggested that Teixeira could have restrictions imposed on him like location monitoring, barring him from accessing the internet or contacting any potential witnesses in the case and bond that could be secured by both his parents’ homes.

The filing further disputed that Teixeira poses a flight risk by pointing to how, when he became aware of his impending arrest, he sat on his mother’s porch and read a Bible as he waited for law enforcement to arrive.

Franco also addressed the government’s detailing of Texeira’s suspension during his sophomore year in high school over allegations he made violent and racist threats. The incident “was thoroughly investigated” at the time, Franco wrote, and Teixeira was allowed to return to school after a “handful” of days following a psychiatric evaluation.

Franco revealed that the incident was also “fully known and vetted by the Air National Guard prior to enlisting and also when he obtained his top-secret security clearance.”

Teixeira’s attorney also argued that the government has offered “no evidence” that his client ever intended for information shared within the Discord server “to be widely disseminated.”

“There is no allegation in the affidavit that Mr. Teixeira had any intent for these documents to become widely available on the internet or desired to disrupt the geopolitical affairs of the United States,” his attorney wrote. “Thus, there is no reason to suggest that, if released, Mr. Teixeira has any motivation, desire, or current ability to commit any actions like those alleged in the complaint affidavit or in the government’s supplemental motion for detention.”

Federal prosecutors argued in a new court filing on Wednesday that Teixeira “poses a serious flight risk” and it would be “all too easy” for him, if released on bail, “to further disseminate classified information” and “take refuge with a foreign adversary.” Prosecutors also claimed that Teixeira took “a series of obstructive steps” intended to prevent investigators from understanding the scope of what he allegedly did and they outlined in detail the reasons they believe he poses a danger to the public if allowed to be released from detention, pointing to the “virtual arsenal of weapons” he possessed at residences he occupied that are owned by his mother and father.

Teixeira, a native of Dighton, Massachusetts, has been charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information as well as willful retention of classified documents, which collectively carry a maximum of 15 years in prison. He has yet to enter a plea.

The FBI-Boston tactical team arrested Teixeira on April 13 and he made an initial appearance in federal court in Boston the following day.

The criminal complaint alleges that Teixeira “improperly and unlawfully retained and transmitted national defense information to people not authorized to receive it.” The leaked documents apparently contain top-secret information about Russia’s war in Ukraine and other parts of the world. Teixeira allegedly accessed a government document on Feb. 23 and posted it online the following day, according to the complaint. It’s the disclosure of that one document that forms the basis of the initial charges.

ABC News’ Meredith Deliso, Aaron Katersky, Luis Martinez and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.

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