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Air Force prosecutors seek new charges for Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira

Prosecutors have asked that Teixeira be court-martialed.

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 leaking defense secrets. national.

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

Teixeira faces more than a decade behind bars and a judge is expected to sentence him in September.

The young airman’s fate is now in the hands of the hearing officer, who will consider the evidence presented Tuesday by military prosecutors and write a recommendation to the convening authority, in this case the commander of the Washington Air Force District. . Ultimately, it will 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 wearing a military uniform. As prosecutors presented his evidence, his relatives in the audience whispered to each other. His mother, Dawn Dufault, said it seemed as if his Air Force sadness no longer fit. “It’s all the garbage they’re giving you there,” she said.

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

To show that Teixeira did not obey orders, prosecutors presented memos from his superiors spanning from September 2022 to April 2023 urging him to stop accessing information unrelated to his duties.

They then entered photos 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 intentions to cover his tracks” and therefore obstructed justice.

Prosecutors also sent Discord messages from an account 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 facing the disgraced airman had already been tried 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 prove that Teixeira intended to evade orders or obstruct justice.

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