A judge has agreed to release the self-avowed white nationalist and Coast Guard lieutenant accused of stockpiling weapons to massacre “leftists” and people he considered “traitors.”
Maryland District Court Judge Charles Day noted Thursday that prosecutors had not charged Christopher Hasson with terrorism or attempted murder and decided he can leave jail on bond — although his defense attorney will need to come up with acceptable conditions for his release first. Day also said he would likely agree to house arrest, according to the Associated Press.
"I can tell you right now, we are going to oppose all of those grounds," prosecutors said, according to an NBC affiliate in Maryland.
Despite repeatedly referring to the 50-year-old as a dangerous “domestic terrorist," prosecutors couldn’t charge him as one under existing federal law. Instead, they nabbed him on gun and drug-related charges, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Hasson also remains on active duty in the Coast Guard, pending the outcome of his trial.
Law enforcement arrested Hasson in mid-February after learning that he had amassed a cache of weapons in his basement and bought thousands of narcotic pills. But his neo-Nazi sympathies and dreams to “kill almost every last person on Earth” — as he wrote in a draft email uncovered by prosecutors — worried the government, which wanted him kept behind bars throughout his trial.
Prosecutors detailed how Hasson idolized Anders Breivik, a far-right Norwegian terrorist convicted of murdering 77 people in 2011. Hasson regularly read Breivik’s “manifesto,” which explained how others could carry out their own massacre — and he'd even started to prepare, according to court filings.
Hasson had stockpiled 15 AR-15s, long rifles, and handguns and allegedly compiled a list of people he wanted to kill. The names, according to prosecutors, included several 2020 Democratic hopefuls — like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (written as “Poca Warren”) — as well as two Supreme Court justices and some journalists.
In emails uncovered by prosecutors, Hasson also referred to himself as a “longtime white nationalist” and chastised the participants of the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, for not having done enough.
His search history, detailed by prosecutors in court filings on Tuesday, also revealed his racist beliefs: Hasson allegedly searched for phrases like “best n----- killing gun” and “please god let there be a race war.”
Despite the allegations, terrorism statutes largely center on affiliation with foreign groups, and Hasson’s lawyers argued that if the government wasn’t going to file more serious charges against their client, then he should be released.
In a hearing a week after Hasson’s arrest, Judge Day refused to let the self-avowed white nationalist out on bail. But by Thursday, the judge had changed his mind. Still, he said he had “grave concerns” and that Hasson will “have to have a whole lot of supervision.”
Cover: This undated file image provided by the U.S. District Court in Maryland shows a photo of firearms and ammunition that was in the motion for detention pending trial in the case against Christopher Hasson. (U.S. District Court via AP, File)