Defense attorneys for U.S. Coast Guard member and alleged white nationalist Christopher Hasson are getting their way. A judge granted Hasson’s release ahead of trial because the government hasn’t charged him with murder or any terrorism-related offenses.
BREAKING: Federal judge agrees to release Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, who was accused of plotting terror attack by federal prosecutors. Judge says govt. has not charged him with terrorism and murder and doesn’t plan to, so no grounds to hold.
— justin jouvenal (@jjouvenal) April 25, 2019
Federal prosecutors are likely to push back on this, however.
Hasson IS NOT walking out of court today. Defense needs to come up with “acceptable conditions” of release which the Feds will completely oppose. He remains detained for the time being. https://t.co/aCekICyS0x
— Luke Barnes (@LukeBarnes_92) April 25, 2019
Prosecutors have described Hasson as a “domestic terrorist” who intended to killed high-profile liberal and left-wing figures, including politicians like Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.)as well as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). He’s only being charged with drug and firearms offenses however.
The defendant allegedly boasting about being a longtime “skinhead” and he complained about white people needing a new “homeland” because Europe was “lost.”
His attorneys complained this month that he was still being held although the prosecutors had yet to file more charges.
“Many more than 14 days have now passed, and the government has not charged Mr. Hasson with any terrorism-related offense,” Liz Oyer wrote.
There is no federal statute criminalizing “domestic terrorism,” though it does have a legal definition. Nonetheless, prosecutors could bring charges if they had evidence that Hasson committed or attempted to commit other offenses. Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, for example, wasn’t charged with domestic terrorism, but that didn’t keep prosecutors from getting a murder conviction.
Hasson is fighting charges. He pleaded not guilty March 11, according to court records viewed by Law&Crime.
Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.