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Treat me like Trump: National Guardsman accused of classified documents leak requests pretrial release, citing former president’s case


Left: Jack Teixeira (via social media). Right: Donald Trump poses for photos at Versailles restaurant on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Miami, the same day he pleaded not guilty to criminal charges relating to allegedly mishandled classified documents (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Inset: Teixeira being taken into custody on April 23, 2023 (via federal court filing).

The National Guardsman accused of leaking classified military documents is asking a federal judge to let him out of jail, citing the fact that former President Donald Trump — accused of many of the same types of crimes — has been allowed to walk free without bail ahead of his classified documents trial.

Jack Teixeira, a member of the Air National Guard in Massachusetts, is accused of violating the Espionage Act. He was arrested on April 13 for the alleged “unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information” in online leaks on the status of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, secret information on Ukraine’s military capabilities, and U.S. “intelligence-gathering” on allies.

A magistrate judge ordered him detained on May 22. In their appeal to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani, a Barack Obama appointee, lawyers for Teixeira argue that unlike the former president and his “body man” co-defendant Waltine Nauta, their client is not a flight risk.

Trump and Nauta, however, “possess extraordinary means” to flee the country, the filing says.

“Former President Trump and The Trump Organization own properties in multiple foreign countries, and former President Trump has access to a private plane,” defense lawyers argue. “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 say that even if their client had the ability to flee — “which he does not,” they note — his own actions ahead of his arrest indicate that he won’t. Indeed, he includes in his filing overhead images appearing to show him to be reading on the porch of his home before several armed authorities arrive to arrest him and escort him into a military vehicle.

Trump, meanwhile, was allowed to show up to his June 13 arraignment on his own and visit a Cuban restaurant in Miami after pleading not guilty, before returning to his golf club residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a fundraiser.

“[T]here is no evidence showing that he has any ideological desire to undermine the Court’s pretrial conditions and become
a fugitive,” Teixeira’s filing says. “Additionally, by not fleeing prior to his arrest, Mr. Teixeira evinced a willingness to submit to law enforcement without pretrial conditions.”

Lawyers also argue that prosecutors haven’t provided support for their position that Teixeira is a flight risk. Instead, the filing says, the government “has crafted a hypothetical scenario in which it speculates that an unidentified adversary might smuggle Mr. Teixeira out of the country.”

“Considering that there is actual evidence demonstrating that Mr. Teixeira has neither the desire nor the ability to become an international fugitive, there is simply no basis to find that Mr. Teixeira is a serious risk of flight in this case,” the appeal adds.

Defense attorneys say that Teixeira could be placed under pretrial conditions including being prohibited from accessing the internet, where he allegedly originally leaked the documents, and from talking to anyone with whom he allegedly shared the documents. In addition, as the filing notes, Trump and Nauta were both released “on personal recognizance and without restriction,” while Teixeira suggests a bond of $20,000 or a bond secured by “either or both homes owned by Mr. Teixeira’s parents” as a condition of release.

Defense lawyers also argued their client is not a national security risk, saying that the government “greatly overexaggerates Mr. Teixeira’s risk to national security” while Trump’s case deals with arguably more sensitive material.

“Mr. Teixeira does not pose a serious risk to national security because he lacks both the means and ideological desire to engage with a foreign adversary to harm the United States,” the filing says. “In addition, the government’s decision not to seek pretrial detention for former President Trump [and other similarly-accused defendants] also demonstrates that a person’s potential risk to national security does not alone justify pretrial detention in Espionage Act cases. The material in these cases involved the most sensitive information our government possesses. Despite this, each was released subject to adequate, often minimal, pretrial conditions.”

Teixeira’s lawyers also noted that the government seized their client’s devices, effectively blocking his online access.

“The government performed a thorough search of his mother and father’s homes and seized electronic devices,” the filing says. “Thus, there is no evidence that Mr. Teixeira has access to any computer, device, or hard drive that would have any bearing on the integrity of the government’s investigation or this proceeding. Moreover, the government’s seizure of Mr. Teixeira’s computers means that he no longer has access to any member of his former online communities. Because of this, he has no legitimate means of influencing another’s participation in this case.”‘

You can read Teixeira’s filing, below.

Law&Crime’s Matt Naham contributed to this report.

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