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Pentagon leak suspect uses Trump classified documents case to argue for release

Attorneys for Jack Teixeira argue that government ‘greatly overexaggerates’ his ‘risk to national security’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 18 July 2023 05:02 BST
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The Pentagon leak suspect has contested a judge’s ruling for his continued detention and used Donald Trump’s classified documents case to argue for his release.

Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira, who is alleged to have leaked secret military papers, told the judge on Monday of the contrasting treatment received by him and Mr Trump.

He pointed to the pretrial release of the former president and other individuals facing charges in similarly high-profile cases involving classified documents.

In May, a magistrate judge ruled that 21-year-old Mr Teixeira must stay in custody throughout the duration of the case, as there was a concern that releasing him could lead to a potential flight from the country or obstruction of justice.

Mr Teixeira’s legal team is currently seeking to challenge this decision by requesting a different judge to overturn the ruling. The attorneys for Mr Teixeira argue that the government “greatly over exaggerates” his “risk to national security”.

Mr Teixeira’s lawyers pointed out a notable inconsistency in the treatment of their client compared to the former president and his co-defendant, Walt Nauta.

They highlighted that the prosecutors did not pursue detention for Mr Trump or Mr Nauta, despite both individuals having significant resources and “extraordinary means to flee the United States”.

This discrepancy raises questions about the fairness and equal application of the law in their client’s case, the attorneys argued.

“Former president Trump and the Trump Organization own properties in multiple foreign countries, and former president Trump has access to a private plane. 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,” Mr Teixeira’s lawyers wrote.

“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,” Mr Teixeira’s lawyers wrote.

Mr Teixeira faces accusations of sharing classified military documents pertaining to Russia’s war in Ukraine and other sensitive national security subjects on Discord, a social media platform widely used by individuals engaged in online gaming.

Last month, Mr Teixeira entered a plea of not guilty to six counts of wilful retention and transmission of national defence information. If convicted on each count, he could face a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison for each offence.

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