A federal judge in Maryland has ruled that accused domestic terrorist Christopher Hasson should be released from detention.
Who is Christopher Hasson?
Hasson, a Coast Guard lieutenant, was arrested in February. He has been indicted on weapons and drug charges. Although he has been accused of plotting a domestic terror attack, he has not been charged with this, a point his attorneys were eager to bring up.
Prosecutors allege that Hasson had planned to kill politicians and media personalities, and that he had close ties to white supremacist groups. They say that he wrote a letter to a "known American neo-Nazi leader" in 2017 expressing his support for a "white homeland."
Hasson also allegedly built up an stockpile of tactical gear, guns, and silencers, and is accused of studying terrorist manifestos. He also apparently looked up the home addresses of two Supreme Court justices. When he was arrested, federal authorities said that Hasson "intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom argued that it would be unsafe to release Hasson.
"The silencers serve one purpose: to murder quietly," he wrote. "The defendant intended to do so on a mass scale, and his detention has thwarted his unlawful desire."
Hasson has pleaded not guilty on all counts. His attorneys have called allegations from prosecutors "inflammatory."
What happened now?
On Thursday, Judge Charles Day said that while he had "grave concerns" about Hasson, government prosecutors had not made a strong enough case to justify keeping Hasson in custody. Hasson will remain under supervised release while he awaits his trial. The details will be decided at another hearing.
"He's got to have a whole lot of supervision," Day said, according to CNN. "Somebody who's got eyes and ears on him like nobody's business."