[osint] All Charges Are Dismissed in Spy Case Tied to FBI

R.A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Fri Jan 7 10:44:32 PST 2005

A little spy-porn...


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To: "Bruce Tefft" <btefft at community-research.com>
Thread-Index: AcT0t++lIBQbqlCJT0mOlbNcWsJnqgACh7RA
From: "Bruce Tefft" <btefft at community-research.com>
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Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 09:06:41 -0500
Subject: [osint] All Charges Are Dismissed in Spy Case Tied to FBI
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All Charges Are Dismissed in Spy Case Tied to FBI

New York Times

January 07, 2005

LLOS ANGELES, Jan. 6 - A federal judge on Thursday dismissed all charges
against a Chinese-American woman accused of using a long-running sexual
relationship with a senior F.B.I. agent here to obtain national security

The woman, Katrina Leung, a wealthy socialite from San Marino, a suburb of
Los Angeles, had faced five criminal counts of unauthorized possession and
copying of classified materials. The prosecutors said she removed the files
from the briefcase of James J. Smith, a senior F.B.I. agent with whom Ms.
Leung had an affair for 20 years.

The prosecutors said they stopped short of charging her with espionage
because they could not prove that she had passed the documents to China.

But on Thursday, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of Federal District Court
dismissed the charges because of what she called prosecutorial misconduct.
Judge Cooper agreed with Ms. Leung's lawyers that a plea agreement that
prosecutors reached with Mr. Smith last spring unfairly prevented Ms.
Leung's lawyers from having access to Mr. Smith, a critical witness.

Mr. Smith pleaded guilty to lying to his superiors about the affair. Four
other felony charges were dropped, letting him avoid prison time. In
exchange, he promised to cooperate in prosecuting Ms. Leung. But the terms
of the deal barred contact with the defense team.

She had faced 14 years in prison if convicted.

The couple were arrested in April 2003, a time of heightened sensitivity
about security because of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and years of
accusations, some unproven, of Chinese espionage in the United States.

"Katrina Leung's nightmare is over," the defense lawyers, Janet I. Levine
and John D. Vandevelde, said in a statement. "Today, United States District
Judge Florence-Marie Cooper granted our motion to dismiss all charges
against Katrina because the prosecutors engaged in misconduct, gagging the
chief witness against her and then trying to cover it up. You can't do that
in America."

The United States attorney in the case, Debra W. Yang, said she disagreed
with the decision and was considering an appeal. Ms. Yang denied any
misconduct on the part of her office and said the accord with Mr. Smith did
not prohibit him from talking to Ms. Leung or her lawyers.

"I stand behind the work of the prosecutors of this case, and I know that
they have conducted themselves ethically," she said.

Mr. Smith recruited Ms. Leung as an informer in the early 80's. For 20
years, she was paid $1.7 million to provide information on China. For almost
all that time, she and Mr. Smith had an affair.

The authorities had at first said Mr. Smith had let her gain access to
secret material that she passed to the Chinese. Justice Department officials
said they believed that Ms. Leung was a double agent when the F.B.I. was
paying her.

The initial grand jury indictment against Ms. Leung charged her with
stealing sensitive national security documents from her lover, but stopped
short of charging that she actually engaged in espionage by passing secrets
to China. The authorities said that although they believed they had ample
evidence that Ms. Leung had unauthorized access to security material, it
would be harder for them to track contacts in China. The difficulty of
introducing classified evidence in open court could also complicate the
case, officials acknowledged.

Judge Cooper admonished the government not only for denying Ms. Leung access
to Mr. Smith, but also for trying to conceal the terms of the deal.

"In this case," the judge wrote, "the government decided to make sure that
Leung and her lawyers would not have access to Smith. When confronted with
what they had done, they engaged in a pattern of stone-walling entirely
unbecoming to a prosecuting agency."

Ms. Leung was a prominent businesswoman and political fund-raiser among
Chinese-Americans in Southern California. The authorities said they believed
that Ms. Leung would "surreptitiously" take secret documents from Mr.
Smith's briefcase on his many visits to her.

She was indicted a day after Mr. Smith was indicted on six counts of wire
fraud and gross negligence for what the authorities said was letting Ms.
Leung take the papers and for lying to his supervisor about their affair and
her reliability.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
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[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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