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The federal public defenders for Harold Martin, the former National Security Agency contractor accused of stealing a large amount of highly classified data and documents, asked the judge to release their client on bail in a late Thursday evening court filing.
Earlier on Thursday, prosecutors told US Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner that Martin is a flight risk and should be kept in custody. In their own filing, the government argued that Martin, who held top-secret clearance while he was a contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton, is a flight risk. The feds noted that they would be seeking to prosecute him under the Espionage Act. (Martin was fired from his job and was stripped of his clearance once his criminal prosecution surfaced.)
In the three-page response, Martin’s lawyers, James Wyda and Deborah Boardman, argued that Martin “does not pose a serious risk of flight.” They note that in a slew of similar cases, including those that involved Gen. David Petraeus and former high-level NSA official Thomas Drake, the accused was not detained pending trial.
The defense team continued:
The government concocts fantastical scenarios in which Mr. Martin—who, by the government’s own admission, does not possess a valid passport—would attempt to flee the country. Mr. Martin’s wife is here in Maryland. His home is here in Maryland. He has served this country honorably as a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and he has devoted his entire career to serving his country. There is no evidence he intended to betray his country. The government simply does not meet its burden of showing that no conditions of release would reasonably assure Mr. Martin’s future appearance in court. For these reasons, and additional reasons to be discussed at the detention hearing, Mr. Martin should be released on conditions pending trial.
Martin is set to appear before Judge Gesner Friday afternoon in Baltimore.
UPDATE 4:27pm ET: According to WJZ reporter Mike Hellgren, the judge ordered Martin to remain in custody. Defense attorney James Wyda characterized his client as “a hoarder.”