A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of the Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing an arsenal of illegal firearms and plotting the assassination of journalists and Democratic politicians, the Associated Press reports.
Lt. Christopher Hasson was arrested on Feb. 15 for illegal firearms and drug possession and described a “domestic terrorist” in a February indictment by federal prosecutors, which alleged Hasson “intend to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.
But in a mid-April court filing, defense attorney Liz Oyer requested U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day to release Hasson from custody unless federal prosecutors decided to formally charge her client with domestic terrorism — which, as Day acknowledged Thursday, they had failed to do.
In granting his pre-trial release, Day expressed “grave concerns” about the Hasson based on the evidence presented by federal prosecutors and stated that the accused is “going to have to have a whole lot of supervision,” per Time, including electronic monitoring and house arrest.
That evidence included a cache of 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammo uncovered in a post-arrest search of Hasson's home, along with a hit list of targets that included including prominent Democratic politicians like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as several high-profile media personalities.
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors argued that Hasson's hit list included Supreme Court Justices, and that he was “planning attacks inspired by the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage,” according to Bloomberg News.
Hasson is currently awaiting trial on four gun and drug charges, including illegal possession of firearm silencers, possession of firearms by a drug addict and unlawful user, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Associated Press. He plead not guilty in March; if convicted, he faces a maximum of 31 years in prison.