More federal charges could be handed down on ‘prepper’
Bailey, former Trump delegate, being held without bond pending another hearing
Appearing Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt for a detention hearing, former Donald Trump delegate Caleb Andrew Bailey remains in federal custody after the judge overturned an order of release which was appealed by prosecutors in lower court last week.
Bailey, 30, of Waldorf may face another indictment as investigators continue to process a slew of evidence recovered from an underground bunker, hidden behind the vault door of a large safe in his house, court proceedings revealed.
The case began after a package, reportedly mailed by Bailey, ruptured at a U.S. Postal Service facility in February. Inside the package, which was addressed to a firearms store in Wisconsin, police found illegal explosive ammunition.
When police raided Bailey’s home in May, they recovered an enormous cache of weapons, hidden cameras and an archive of child pornography, about 600 videos, prosecutors said. Some appeared to have
been downloaded from the internet, but the government claims Bailey also used hidden cameras to secretly record three naked teenage boys so he could watch later for his own sexual satisfaction, according to court proceedings.
“He’s secretive. He’s a ghost,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Sykes. “He’s deceived so many people … these minors who trusted him.”
A month before the search warrant, Bailey was elected in Maryland’s primary election as a delegate in support of Donald Trump to attend the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland in July. Bailey was elected as a Trump delegate by GOP voters in the Fifth Congressional District, which includes Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, and parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel.
Caleb Bailey’s father, Collins Bailey, is the former vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, and remains a Trump delegate for the upcoming convention in Cleveland, according to Joe Cluster, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party.
On a hard drive recovered by police, investigators found folders named after each of the three boys, court proceeds revealed. Inside the folders were sub-folders labeled “hidden camera videos,” prosecutors said. Footage from the bathroom camera is aimed toward the shower, focused on the boys’ genitals.
“This was not inadvertent,” said Sykes. “This was purposeful.”
Law enforcement has not yet interviewed the three boys, and prosecutors are concerned that their relationship with Bailey may influence them. Bailey had befriended them and often rode ATVs with them, court proceedings revealed.
During the police raid, one of the boys, directed by Bailey, ran out of the house with a laptop, a camera and an external hard drive, which contained child pornography, prosecutors said.
U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm noted that it is well documented that victims in child porn cases are often “groomed” by the perpetrator, and the fact that the boys have not been interviewed could suggest they are unwilling or afraid to talk to the government.
Grimm, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, called the weapons cache discovered in Bailey’s underground bunker “simply jaw-dropping in its magnitude,” adding that he has never seen an arsenal of that size.
Amongst the recovered weapons were at least 14 machine guns — AR-15 rifles — which Bailey allegedly converted to fire fully automatic, prosecutors said. At least one of them had a drum magazine attachment. Law enforcement is continuing to test the capabilities of various other weapons seized in the raid with concern of legality. Police also found multiple phosphorous grenades, at least one 37mm launcher, and many other weapons, prosecutors noted.
Defense Attorney William Brennan, Jr. conceded to some of the allegations, but argued that Bailey was not dangerous or a flight-risk. Rather, Bailey is a “prepper,” he said, and explained why Bailey had set up a hidden camera in the bathroom.
“The government prefers to call it a bunker; we prefer to call it a safe room,” Brennan said. “The vast majority of the weapons ... were in fact legal.”
“We agree there were a lot of weapons in there,” he said, but pointed out that there were items consistent with post-disaster survival preparation in the bunker, such as large jugs of water, flash lights, first-aid kits and MRE rations.
Regarding the hidden camera in the bathroom, Brennan told the court that Bailey had originally placed it there to catch a former roommate that Bailey suspected of using drugs, kicking him out of the house upon discovery. Brennan did not deny that Bailey was in possession of child pornography downloaded from the internet, but said he did not manufacture it himself by using the cameras.
“Mr. Bennett, how did the family not know about it?” asked Grimm, who also wondered how Bailey could afford to amass such an array of weapons.
His family knew he collected firearms, Brennan said, but “they absolutely did not know the extent of this.”
Brennan indicated that Bailey may have siphoned off some of his family’s property.
Caleb Bailey lives alone in the house, located on a 75-acre plot of land owned by his father who owns a wholesale lumber business, according to court proceedings.
The Bailey family had agreed to post Caleb’s bond with a property valued around $1.5 million. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day had agreed to these terms last week, with conditions that Bailey live with his sister in St. Mary’s County. She would act as a third-party custodian while Caleb’s parents would supervise him in her absence to ensure that he did not violate his conditions of release, which included no internet access, according to court proceedings.
However, Day stayed his order of release upon appeal from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Windom and Sykes, and transferred the case to U.S. District Court to be heard by Grimm.
Ultimately, Grimm ruled in favor of the government, meaning Bailey will remain in custody to await trial, unless conditions of release could be agreed upon in the meantime.
Bailey’s next hearing date is pending.
“Bailey faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for unlawful transport of explosives by a non-licensee and for illegal possession of a machine gun; a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison for production and attempted production of child pornography; and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for possessing child pornography,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.