A federal judge denied bond Thursday for Reality Winner, a 25-year-old NSA contractor and Air Force veteran currently in custody awaiting trial for allegedly leaking a classified intelligence document to an online news site.
Ms. Winner will remain in custody pending future legal proceedings after U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Brian Epps rejected her latest request for bond Thursday, her second since being taken into custody June 3 and charged with leaking government secrets.
Prosecutors convinced the court that releasing Ms. Winner before trial risked allowing the defendant to damage national security or possibly flee the country, Judge Epps acknowledged in an eight-page ruling seen by The Washington Times.
“Characteristics weighing in favor of defendant’s pretrial release are her service to Air Force, clean criminal history and loving and committed parents,” the ruling said. “Substantially outweighing these positive characteristics, however, are defendant’s state of mind, short length of time residing in the community, few community ties and past conduct.”
Prosecutors said Ms. Winner accessed a classified document in May while on the job at Pluribus, an Atlanta-based intelligence contractor, and then illegally mailed a copy of that document to an online news site.
Neither the precise nature of the document nor the news outlet that received it are identified in public court filings, but previous reporting has made clear that Ms. Winner is accused of sending an article to The Intercept detailing Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
Ms. Winner was arrested at her home in August the following month and charged with a single count of violating the U.S. Espionage Act. She was denied bail upon pleading not guilty during a June 8 court hearing, but her attorneys filed an additional request last month seeking her release pending trial.
An attorney for the prosecution declined to discuss the judge’s decision when reached by The Washington Times on Thursday. Ms. Winner’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a similar request for comment.
Ms. Winner’s trial is slated to begin March 19. Prosecutors previously said they’ll seek a nine-year prison sentence if she’s convicted.