Judge Orders Coast Guard Officer Accused of Being a Terrorist Held Until Trial

Prosecutors have called Christopher Hasson a domestic terrorist who plotted a killing spree

A Coast Guard lieutenant accused of stockpiling guns and compiling a hit list of prominent Democrats and TV journalists will remain in custody until trial.

Prosecutors in Maryland urged U.S. District Judge George Hazel to revoke a magistrate's order to free 50-year-old Christopher Hasson from custody while he awaits trial on firearms and drug charges. Hazel heard the prosecutors' appeal Monday and ordered Hasson detained pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day decided last Tuesday that Hasson could be released from custody and supervised by relatives in Virginia. But Day didn't order Hasson's immediate release. He gave prosecutors time to appeal.

Prosecutors called Hasson a domestic terrorist who plotted a killing spree, but they haven't filed any terrorism-related charges against him since his Feb. 15 arrest.

Hasson is a self-described white nationalist who espoused extremist views for years and "intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom wrote in a previous court filing.

Prosecutors said Hasson compiled what appeared to be a computer-spreadsheet hit list that included Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Also mentioned were such figures as MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN's Chris Cuomo and Van Jones. Prosecutors also say Hasson targeted two Supreme Court justices and two social media company executives and searched online for their home addresses in March 2018, within minutes before and after searching firearm sales websites.

During last month's hearing, Day said he still has "grave concerns" about Hasson based on information prosecutors have presented. But the magistrate also took into account the defense's argument that he hasn't been charged with any terrorism-related offenses since his arrest.

Defense attorney Liz Oyer said conditions of Hasson's release should include home detention with electronic location monitoring, as well as no access to firearms, a computer or other internet-capable devices.

Oyer has said her client hadn't made any direct or specific threats to harm anyone. Prosecutors are seeking to punish Hasson for "private thoughts" that he never shared, she said.

"They have not come forward with evidence that Mr. Hasson is a domestic terrorist because he is not," she told Day last month.

Hasson has pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of firearm silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict and unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance. Investigators found 15 guns, including seven rifles, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition at Hasson's basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland, prosecutors said. Hasson's Feb. 27 indictment also accuses him of illegal possession of tramadol, an opioid painkiller.

Hasson, a former Marine, worked at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new cutters for the agency.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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