Court hearing for Jack Teixeira leaked docs case delayed by two weeks

Jack Teixeira in a photo his mother posted on social media.

Chris Van Buskirk

A federal judge delayed by two weeks a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday for a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified government documents.

Judge David Hennessy made the ruling Wednesday morning after Teixeira’s public defender, Brendan Kelley, said defense lawyers needed “more time to address the issues presented by the government’s request for detention.” Government lawyers agreed to the delay, according to court filings.

During a court appearance last week, Hennessy ordered Teixeira to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service ahead of a detention hearing. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not immediately say where he would be held for the next two weeks.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshal Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A date for the detention hearing was not immediately available from court filings, but it is likely lawyers will meet again at Boston’s John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse sometime in early May to argue over whether Teixeira should remain in custody while his case plays out.

Investigators say Teixeira, a low-level airman who was based out of Joint Base Cape Cod, at first posted transcripts of highly sensitive national defense information in December 2022 to a social media platform designed for gamers before taking the documents home and uploading photos in January 2023.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged him with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material in connection to one document on the war in Ukraine leaked in February 2023. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Teixeira was arrested last week by heavily armed law enforcement agents who had tracked him to his residence in Dighton using billing records from the social media platform, Discord, and a member of one of the servers prosecutors say he led.

The documents cover everything from the war in Ukraine to U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts in allied countries. And an FBI agent told a judge last week that investigators believe Teixeira may have more classified documents “being stored in an unsecure manner” at two residences in Dighton.

Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation have warned that adversaries’ ability to learn how the United States collects and stores classified information could have real-world effects.

Congressman Seth Moulton said the leak will result in on-the-ground consequences in Ukraine.

“Frankly, I am so shocked that we’re talking about a 15-year prison sentence here because he has risked, I mean, this will cost lives,” he said in a previous interview with MassLive. “It’s impossible to imagine that more Ukrainians won’t die because of this leak, and yet, we’re just talking about a 15-year prison sentence for this kid.”

Working for the Air National Guard out of Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, Teixeira had a top-secret security clearance and “sensitive compartmented access” to other highly classified programs, both of which he received in 2021.

But officials have questioned how the airman was able to access sensitive documents, like ones that showed near real-time battle plans in Ukraine.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Congress on Tuesday that the service has launched its own investigation into how Teixeira was able to access and distribute documents.

In the meantime, the Air Force reassigned the intelligence mission of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, Teixeira’s unit, pending the outcome of a review of their policy and procedures.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts National Guard said the 1,200-member 102nd Intelligence Wing will not resume its mission until the Air Force is confident it is ready to do so. Guard members who are part of the unit are not suspended, the spokesman said, and there will not be any transfers.

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