An Augusta federal judge has denied on Thursday the request for the bond of a person accused of being a National Security Agency (NSA) leaker pending her March 19 trial.
25-year-old Reality Winner is the first accused leaker to be prosecuted by the Trump administration. She has pleaded not guilty to a charge of leaking an NSA report related to the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to the online news publication The Intercept.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps said in his eight-page decision denying the bond that it is possible that Winner, a former Air Force linguist, could flee the country and cause harm to national security should she be allowed to go free. Epps emphasized that Winner’s writings show that she hates the U.S. and that she has plotted against the government. The judge also pointed Winner’s admiration for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Epps said the evidence against Winner is also strong. The judge also stressed that the accused admitted during her initial interview with law enforcement that she leaked classified information to a news outlet. He added that Winner also made damning admissions regarding the case during recorded jail phone conversations with her mother and sister. Epps stressed that the circumstantial evidence corroborates defendant’s admissions.
Winner’s lawyers have not yet commented on the judge’s decision. They argued last month that she should be released from jail pending her trial since new information has been gathered that weakens the government’s case for keeping her behind bars.
The lawyers for the defendant described their client’s continued detention “unjust”, contrary to law, and not in accordance with the presumption of liberty.