April 25, 2019 / 9:18 PM / a month ago

Maryland judge to release Coast Guard officer accused of plotting attack: reports

(Reuters) - A judge in Maryland has agreed to the pre-trial release of a U.S. Coast Guard officer accused of stockpiling weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and TV journalists, according to media reports on Thursday.

Evidence in the case did not show that Lieutenant Christopher Hasson, 50, was as dangerous as prosecutors claimed, said the federal judge at a hearing in Greenbelt, Maryland, according to Baltimore television station WBAL and other media. Hasson was assigned to the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington.

The arrangements for Hasson’s release will be decided at an upcoming court hearing. At that time, Hasson’s defense attorneys will propose options for him to be supervised after his release, according to CNN.

“He’s got to have a whole lot of supervision,” said Judge Charles Day, according to CNN. “Somebody who’s got eyes and ears on him like nobody’s business.”

Authorities arrested Hasson on Feb. 15 and seized a stash of 15 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition from his residence in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Prosecutors later said Hasson was a self-described white supremacist with a list of potential targets, including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, and MSNBC television host Joe Scarborough.

So far, prosecutors have not brought charges directly accusing Hasson of plotting an attack.

Hasson has been charged with two counts of unlawful possession of firearm silencers, one count of unlawful possession of pain medication tramadol and one count of unlawful possession of firearms by an addict of a controlled substance.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Hasson could receive a maximum sentence of more than 30 years in prison if convicted of all the charges against him.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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