On Thursday, a federal judge in Maryland ordered the release of Christopher Hasson, a Coast Guard officer accused of plotting a domestic terror attack.
Hasson was arrested in February on weapons and drug charges. According to authorities, the self-proclaimed white nationalist had stockpiled 15 guns, including semi-automatic rifles, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, large quantities of opioids, and a “hit list” that included more than 20 names of Democratic political leaders as well as high-profile media figures.
The prosecution has said that Hasson spent hours reading manifestos and statements released by mass killers. He also attempted to find the addresses of those on his list, which included two Supreme Court justices.
In spite of that, Hasson’s lawyers have argued there is no evidence that he actually planned to carry out an attack himself, and that Hasson cannot be prosecuted based off his internet searches.
According to the judge, because the federal government has not charged Hasson with terrorism or attempted murder “and doesn’t plan to,” it is not required that he be locked up until his trial.
“I do not find detention is appropriate,” said U.S. District Court judge Charles Day. However, Day also added that “He’s got to have a whole lot of supervision.”
Hasson will not be released until that supervision is arranged in a future court hearing.
Jenn Bentley covers breaking news and politics for Big Easy Magazine in addition to editing. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_