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Defense attorneys representing Harold Martin, the former National Security Agency contractor accused of stealing a vast quantity of classified materials, have asked a more senior judge to review the decision that kept their client in federal custody.
On Tuesday, Martin’s federal public defenders filed a “motion to review detention order,” asking US District Judge Richard D.
Bennett to overrule his more junior colleague’s decision last Friday to keep Martin behind bars.
In August, when Martin was arrested, investigators seized 50 terabytes’ worth of data and many other printed and classified documents from Martin’s home in suburban Maryland.
If all of this data was indeed classified, it would be the largest such heist from the NSA, far larger than what former contractor Edward Snowden took.
During last week’s hearing, James Wyda, one of Martin’s lawyers, told US Magistrate Judge A.
David Copperthite that his client “is not Edward Snowden. He’s not someone who, due to political ideas or philosophical ideas or moral principles, thinks he knows better than everybody else.”
However, Wyda did not put forward a clear argument as to why his client was found with so much classified material in his home and his car.
In the Tuesday filing, Wyda again argued for Martin’s release, saying, “The only consideration before the Court will be whether there is a ‘serious risk’ that Mr. Martin will fail to appear for court appearances if he is released.”
Prior to the October 21 detention hearing, prosecutors told US Magistrate Judge A.
David Copperthite that Martin, who held top-secret clearance while he was a contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton, could flee the US or perhaps be targeted or abducted by a foreign power.
The feds also 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.)
Judge Copperthite found the government’s arguments convincing, calling Martin’s release a “serious risk to the public” and ordering him to remain in custody pending trial.
In the new filing, Wyda reiterated his earlier arguments to Judge Bennett, underscoring that his client would continue to make appearances before the court, as he has “strong ties” to Maryland, the state where Martin lives and where the NSA is based.
The lawyer concluded:
For these and other reasons that will be discussed at a hearing on this motion, Mr. Martin respectfully requests release pending trial subject to any conditions the Court finds appropriate to reasonably assure his appearance in Court, such as 24-7 electronic home monitoring, no use of computers or the Internet, no firearms, no alcohol, and an alcohol monitoring device.
Judge Bennett will hold a hearing on the matter this Friday, October 28, at 2:30pm ET in federal court in Baltimore.