A federal judge ruled Thursday that a white nationalist Coast Guard officer accused of – but not charged with — planning a terror attack can be released on bail, CNN reported.
Federal prosecutors had urged Christopher Hasson to be detained pending trial because, they said, he “poses a substantial risk of danger to the community.” Hasson allegedly kept a “kill list” of prominent Democratic politicians and journalists and stockpiled some 17 weapons, including two silencers. Prosecutors have said he spent hours at his desk job at the Coast Guard’s Washington, D.C. headquarters searching for information on mass murders.
But magistrate judge Charles Day of Maryland determined that because prosecutors have not and do not intend to charge Hasson with terrorism-related offenses, they don’t have grounds to hold him, according to CNN.
Hasson’s defense attorneys had argued for his release.
Per Kate Amara, a reporter for local Baltimore station WBAL also present at the hearing, Hasson’s wife’s “jaw dropped when she heard the decision.”
Hasson is charged with illegal possession of unregistered silencers, illegal possession of 17 firearms by an addict of controlled substances, and possession of the opioid Tramadol. In court filings and in hearings, prosecutors detailed Hasson’s alleged fixation on an impending “race war.”
Day said he had “grave concerns” about Hasson’s alleged activities and that the terms of his release still needed to be determined.
“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.”
Correction: This article originally misidentified the name of the judge who handed down the ruling as U.S. District Jarrod Hazel, rather than Charles Day.