Josh Schulte, accused of leak, writes to judge seeking relief from ‘unconstitutional’ jail conditions

Joshua Adam Schulte, a former CIA employee awaiting a new trial for allegedly leaking classified information, asked a judge to order jailers to stop intercepting and delaying mail from their attorneys.

Schulte, who is accused of illegally sharing CIA hacking tools later published by the WikiLeaks website, requested relief in a three-page handwritten letter included in his case on Wednesday.

Addressed to US District Judge Paul A. Cotty, the letter was filed in Manhattan federal court with a copy of an envelope containing correspondence addressed to Mr. Schulte by his defense team.

The envelope, postmarked March 25, lists Mr. Schulte’s attorneys in the return address section and has a message printed in the center that reads “SPECIAL MAIL” and “OPEN ONLY IN PRESENCE OF INMATE.”

Schulte said he did not receive the letter until May 5, more than 40 days after it was postmarked, and that it was opened in the meantime, as evidenced by other messages on the outside of the envelope.

Despite being marked as coming from Mr. Schulte’s defense attorneys, the other messages in the envelope indicate that the mail was designated as “general correspondence” and was opened and inspected accordingly.

Schulte said previous letters from his attorneys have also taken more than a month to reach the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan, where he has been incarcerated since 2017.

Attorneys defending Mr. Schulte have previously accused the FBI of deliberately intercepting and delaying legal mail and other correspondence destined for his client as he prepares for trial.

Mr. Schulte is subject to restrictions on his incarceration known as Special Administrative Measures, or SAM, which his attorneys have said include allowing the FBI to read all of his incoming mail.

In January Judge Crotty, appointed by former President George W. Bush, was asked to relax the SAMs imposed on Mr. Schulte, but said the proper vehicle for relief would be a separate civil lawsuit.

Defense attorneys subsequently filed another motion in March asking the court to reconsider their concerns, and Judge Crotty has not intervened for more than two months later, Schulte said.

“I ask this court to rule on that motion, because otherwise it is essentially vetoed out of pocket and I have no way to appeal, and the MCC will continue to delay my legal mail for over 40 days and deliver it to the FBI, as well as torture me in unconstitutional conditions of confinement, ”wrote Mr. Schulte.

In addition to SAMs affecting his access to legal mail, Mr. Schulte asked in his letter from jail that the judge rule on a number of other restrictions that he considers unconstitutional.

“My motion for reconsideration is still pending; In addition to the illegal opening and delay of my legal mail, I also ask for relief from torture, including a ban on ALL books and the institution’s library, a ban on looking outside, a ban on outdoor recreation, the prohibition of arbitrary commissary items such as Cheerios, sleep deprivation through constant lighting of the cage, toilets that do not work, there is no heating or air conditioning, dirt, among many others, ”wrote Mr. Schulte.

“These confinement conditions only apply to SAM inmates, and the conditions violate both the Fifth and Eighth Amendments because the conditions are arbitrary, have no legitimate criminal interest, and impose cruel and unusual punishment,” Schulte wrote.

The court had not filed a response to Mr. Schulte’s letter until Thursday afternoon. Mr. Schulte said you can ask the Second Circuit to force the court to address your complaints.

Schulte, 32, is accused of violating the US Espionage Act by allegedly providing WikiLeaks with material that includes the source codes of secret CIA hacking tools published by the website in 2017.

The government previously argued its case against Schulte in court in 2020, but a jury stalled on most charges and the trial was declared void. He was indicted again on those charges in June.

Mr. Schulte’s retrial is scheduled to begin October 25 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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