Judge delays decision whether to release accused NSA leaker Reality Winner from jail

A federal judge is expected to rule next week whether to allow Reality Leigh Winner to be released from jail, pending her trial in the National Security Agency leak investigation.

In a five-and-a-half-hour hearing Friday in Augusta, parts of which were closed to discuss classified material, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps said he needed more time to do research and go through recent filings before issuing his decision.

Federal prosecutors cited Winner’s background , including knowledge of classified information, to argue she is a flight risk and would present a danger to the community.

Winner’s attorneys accused the government of trying to build a case based on innuendo and suspicion, saying Winner had no intention of fleeing, had no criminal convictions and would be staying with her mom, who temporarily moved to Georgia from Texas last weekend to support her daughter.

Winner, 25, is the first accused leaker to be prosecuted by the Trump administration.

The former Air Force linguist has pleaded not guilty to a charge of leaking an NSA report about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to The Intercept, an online news publication. She worked as a federal contractor in Augusta.

A trial in the case, originally scheduled for Oct. 23, is now expected to start March 19.

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