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Air Force prosecutors seek new charges against Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira

Air Force prosecutors on Tuesday asked a military hearing officer to recommend that Jack Teixeira, a member of the Air National Guard, be court-martialed for disobeying orders and obstructing justice after having divulged national defense secrets.

Teixeira, 22, who appeared at Hanscom Air Force Base, about 20 miles from Boston, for the military court hearing, pleaded guilty to federal charges in March for distributing classified defense documents on the platform social media platform Discord. Some of these documents contained intelligence about the war in Ukraine, including classified information on troop movements.

Teixeira faces more than a decade behind bars and is expected to be sentenced by a judge in September.

The fate of the young airman is now in the hands of the hearing officer, who will review the evidence presented Tuesday by military prosecutors and draft a recommendation to the convening authority – in this case the commander of the Army District of the Washington air. . It will ultimately be up to the commander to decide whether Teixeira’s case will be referred to a military trial, also known as a court-martial.

On Tuesday, Teixeira entered the courtroom unrestrained and in his military uniform. As prosecutors presented their evidence, his family members in the audience whispered to each other. His mother, Dawn Dufault, said it seemed his Air Force blues no longer suited him. “That’s all the junk they’re feeding him in there,” she said.

Prosecutors did not call any witnesses to prove there was probable cause behind the “specifications” or charges, choosing instead to present a series of exhibits to support their charges.

To demonstrate that Teixeira failed to obey orders, prosecutors submitted memos spanning from September 2022 to April 2023 from his superiors urging him to stop accessing information unrelated to his duties.

They then seized photographs of Teixeira’s electronic devices, including an iPad and a hard drive, which they said had been recovered from a nearby dumpster after his arrest.

Captain Stephanie Adams argued that Teixeira acted with “malicious intent to cover his tracks” and thereby obstructed justice.

Prosecutors also submitted Discord messages from an account that prosecutors say belonged to Teixeira, in which he asked another user to delete messages.

Teixeira’s defense attorneys, including Lt. Col. Bradley Poronsky, a former Texas Longhorns offensive lineman, declined to call witnesses or present evidence.

However, his team argued that the latest charges should be dismissed because of the concept of double jeopardy – or the concept of not being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

Maj. Luke Gilhooly, Teixeira’s attorney, argued that the charges against the disgraced airman had already been tried in federal court — and that the latest prosecution amounted to the Air Force wanting to “get his own pound of flesh.”

The defense argued that, even despite “double jeopardy,” the government failed to demonstrate that Teixeira intended to evade orders or obstruct justice.

There is no time limit for when the hearing officer must file his recommendation or when the convening authority must make a decision.

ABC News

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