The lawyer for Jack Teixeira — the Massachusetts Air National Guard member accused of leaking classified information on the internet — has filed a motion to be withdrawn as Teixeira's counsel.
No information was given as to why.
The 21-year-old national guardsman was arrested in April and accused of leaking military secrets online, even after he was warned on multiple occasions about his inappropriate behavior around classified information.
Earlier this month, a federal magistrate judge ruled that Teixeira will remain behind bars while he awaits trial.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy said releasing 21-year-old Jack Teixeira would pose a risk that he would attempt to flee the country or obstruct justice. The judge cited Teixeira’s “fascination with guns,” disturbing online statements and admonitions by Teixeira's military superiors about his handling of sensitive information before his arrest.
The ruling comes after prosecutors revealed that Teixeira had a history of violent rhetoric, and was caught by fellow military members months before his arrest taking notes on classified information or viewing intelligence not related to his job.
Teixeira is accused of sharing classified military documents on Discord, a social media platform popular with people playing online games. The stunning breach exposed to the world unvarnished secret assessments on Russia’s war in Ukraine, the capabilities and geopolitical interests of other nations and other national security issues.
The judge said the case represented “a profound breach of the defendant's word that he would protect information related to the security of the United States.”
“Who did he put at risk? I mean, you could make a list as long as a phone book,” Hennessy said, including military personnel, medical workers overseas and Ukrainian citizens.
The judge indicated that he found persuasive prosecutors' arguments that U.S. adversaries who might be interested in mining Teixeira for information could facilitate his escape.
“Foreign countries know that this defendant was disloyal to the United States," the judge said. “It doesn’t seem implausible at all that a foreign government would make an overture to this defendant to get information."
Teixeira appeared to show no emotion as he was lead out of the courtroom in handcuffs and orange jail clothes. He smiled at his father sitting in the front as he walked into the hearing in Worcester, Massachusetts, federal court.
Teixeira can appeal the judge's ruling, and Hennessy told him “another judge could come to a different conclusion." The judge said the support of Teixeira's family — who have attended every court hearing — is a compelling reason to release the man, but his concerns outweigh that.
In a statement after the hearing, Teixeira's family said it was disappointed with the outcome but “we realize there is a long road ahead of us all, and Jack’s wellbeing and safety is our priority right now. As a family, we are as committed as ever and remain steadfast and determined in our complete support of Jack as we continue to wade through this process.”