| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Jack Teixeira, accused of leaking classified US military documents, pleads not guilty

Jack Teixeira, the US Air National Guardsman accused of leaking highly classified military documents online, has entered a plea of not guilty to six federal charges.
On Wednesday, the 21-year-old appeared before a federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, days after he was indicted by a grand jury on six counts of wilful retention and transmission of national defence information.

When the judge read out the charges against him, Teixeira, in his orange prison uniform, responded, “Not guilty, your honour.” He has been held in federal custody since his arrest in April.

For each charge, Teixeira faces prison sentence of up to 10 years, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The next hearing in Teixeira’s case is set to take place on August 9.

Family throws support
Following Teixeira’s plea, his family in a statement on Wednesday said that they will “remain committed as ever” when it comes to supporting him, reports AP news agency.

“The important thing is Jack will now have his day in court,” the family said. “We are hopeful that Jack will be getting the fair and just treatment he deserves.”

The Massachusetts born, who was arrested in April, is accused of sharing classified documents on the popular social media website Discord. The leaked documents entail detailed intelligence assessments of allies and adversaries alike, including the state of the war in Ukraine.
He began posting information about the documents online around December 2022, and photos of documents in January, according to prosecutors.

Teixeira, a national security threat
Teixeira’s lawyers have argued that the 21-year-old didn’t expect the classified documents he shared on Discord would be spread around the internet and slammed the prosecutors for overstating the danger that Teixeira poses to national security.
“The unauthorised removal, retention and transmission of classified information jeopardizes our nation’s security. Individuals granted access to classified materials have a fundamental duty to safeguard the information for the safety of the United States, our active service members, its citizens and its allies,” acting United States Attorney Joshua S Levy had said last week in a statement following Teixeira’s indictment.

Officials have claimed that Teixeira was the leader of a private Discord chat group titled ‘Thug Shaker Central’, where members shared jokes, their favourite types of guns and views on international conflicts.

The Department of Justice has also said that he had a history of disturbing comments online. In November, for example, he posted that he would like to see a large number of people killed in a “culling of the weak-minded”.

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