The National Guardsman who is accused of leaking secret military documents has challenged a judge’s decision to keep him behind bars, arguing that he is a much lower flight risk than former President Donald Trump, who is currently on parole for an alleged similar offense.
A Massachusetts trial judge ruled in May that 21-year-old Jack Teixeira must remain in jail while his case unfolds, citing members of the Air National Guard as a possible flight risk.
Teixeira’s lawyers have asked a second judge to overturn that decision.
In court documents, the lawyers said Teixeira has neither the financial means nor the ability to flee, arguing that the government “greatly exaggerates Mr. Teixeira’s risk to national security.”
That is in contrast to Trump, who remains free despite facing 37 felony charges in his case and continues to campaign for president with the threat of impending trials.
Jack Teixeira, 21, has been accused of leaking classified military documents online. His lawyers have asked that he be allowed out of jail before his trial.
An artist’s rendering shows Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Teixeira, right, appearing in US District Court in Boston.
Teixeira’s legal team said prosecutors did not seek to arrest Trump or his co-defendant, Walt Nauta, despite the politician possessing “extraordinary means to flee the United States.”
Former President Trump and the Trump Organization own property in several foreign countries, and former President Trump has access to a private plane. However, the flight risk posed by her knowledge of national security information and his abnormal ability to flee did not even result in a request to surrender his passport,” they wrote.
The guard’s lawyers wrote that the “disparate approach” taken in these two cases – both charged under the Espionage Law – shows that the “government’s argument in favor of detaining Mr. Teixeira on this basis is illusory.”
The judge’s decision to detain Teixeira came after Justice Department lawyers revealed that he had a history of making threatening comments online.
Last November, he wrote that he would “kill a (expletive) ton of people” if he had his way, because it would be “sacrificing the weak-minded.”
Prosecutors have also said that Teixeira may still be in possession of classified material that he has not released that could be of “tremendous value to hostile states that could offer him a safe harbor and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States.”
His lawyers argued that there is no evidence that his client “actualized his online conversations or endangered anyone in his community.”
They added that there is no real evidence to suggest that Teixeira is valuable enough to any foreign adversary to smuggle him out of the country.
In June, Teixeira pleaded not guilty to six counts of intentionally withholding and transmitting national defense information. Each charge against him is punishable by up to a decade in prison.
Former President Donald Trump is flanked by supporters after his June arraignment in Florida federal court.
Former US President Donald Trump visits the Versailles restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood after being arraigned. A judge allowed him to leave without bail in his case
The National Guard allegedly posted secret memos in an Internet chat room referring to the war in Ukraine. Teixeira’s lawyers argued that he is being held in jail while Trump remains free on similar charges.
The former president has also pleaded not guilty to dozens of felony charges, accusing him of keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and refusing to return them to the government.
Trump was not asked to hand over his passport, although the judge ordered him not to discuss the case. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has publicly attacked the politically motivated impeachment.
Teixeira, a Massachusetts native, has been behind bars since April when he was arrested on charges related to one of the most shocking intelligence leaks in years.
His lawyers have recommended that he be handed over to his father and confined primarily to his home with location monitoring and no internet access.
The leak allegedly perpetrated by Teixeira was of classified military documents about Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine and other highly sensitive national security issues.
These are two of the leaked documents shared by the New York Times
This document appears to show the state of Ukraine’s air defenses in February and May, when they are predicted to be severely depleted.
Teixeira is accused of sharing the secrets on the social media platform Discord, a platform popular with online gamers.
Authorities said Teixeira began sharing military secrets in January. He allegedly shared information from classified documents and eventually posted archived images that had ‘SECRET’ and ‘TOP SECRET’ marks.
The young guard, who enlisted in 2019, worked as a “cyber transportation systems specialist,” a sort of IT specialist responsible for military communications networks.
Teixeira’s motive remains unclear and authorities have not shared many details, though Discord’s conversations imply that the young man was motivated more by a sense of grandeur than ideology.