Christopher Hasson, 50, a Coast Guard lieutenant working in the nation's capital, was arrested Feb. 15 on drug and gun charges. Prosecutors later called Hasson a "domestic terrorist" in court filings and said he "intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
After initially denying the request, the judge agreed Tuesday to a strict release into the custody of Hasson's father-in-law or mother-in-law in Virginia, where he would have to be accompanied by someone else at all times.
Hasson will not be released yet. The judge has laid out a lengthy list of conditions for his release, which court officers must confirm have been met, and the government's appeal must be processed. If the appeal is rejected, Hasson may be released in about a week.
The judge had previously expressed his "grave concerns" about Hasson based on information prosecutors have presented. On Tuesday, Day said the allegations against Hasson made him "very nervous, but I don't think it justifies detention."
Prosecutors have said Hasson appeared to be planning attacks inspired by the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage.
In court, Hasson's attorney Liz Oyer said he has had a lifelong interest in firearms and likes to hunt and target practice. She said the number of guns he owned isn't unusual in North Carolina, where he lived for years before moving to Maryland.
Hasson, a former Marine, worked at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington on a program to acquire advanced new cutters for the agency. A Coast Guard spokesman has said Hasson will remain on active duty until the case against him is resolved.
Gary Grumbach is 2020 campaign embed for NBC News.
Adiel Kaplan is a reporter with the NBC News Investigative Unit.