Air Force prosecutors ask for new charges for Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira

Written by on May 16, 2024

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(WASHINGTON) — Air Force prosecutors on Tuesday asked a military hearing officer to recommend that Jack Teixeira, an Air National Guardsman, be court-martialed for disobeying orders and obstructing justice after leaking national defense secrets.

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

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

The fate of the junior airman is now in the hands of the hearing officer, who will consider the evidence presented on Tuesday by military prosecutors and will write a recommendation to the convening authority — in this case the commander of the Air Force District of Washington. 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 one another. His mother, Dawn Dufault, said it appeared as if his Air Force blues no longer fit. 

“It’s all the junk they’re feeding him in there,” she said.

Prosecutors did not call any witnesses to prove that there is probable cause behind the “specifications” or counts, instead opting to enter a series of exhibits to support their accusations.

To show 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 entered photographs of Teixeira’s electronics, including an iPad and a hard-drive, which they said had been recovered from a nearby dumpster following his arrest.

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

Prosecutors also submitted Discord messages from an account which 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 offensive lineman for the Texas Longhorns, declined to call any witnesses or enter any evidence.

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

Maj. Luke Gilhooly, an attorney for Teixeira argued that the charges facing the disgraced airman had already been adjudicated in federal court — and that the latest prosecution amounts to the Air Force wanting “to get its own pound of flesh.”

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

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

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