Judge Tosses Plea Deal in Espionage Case

Judge Tosses Plea Deal for US Spies

Judge Drops Plea Deals in Navy Secrets Case

(NewsReady.com) – In February, a husband and wife pleaded guilty to espionage. The couple tried to sell secrets about US nuclear submarines to foreign nations. Prosecutors made a plea deal with them, but a federal judge was not happy.

On August 16, Judge Gina M. Groh of the US District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia threw out the plea arrangement. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had agreed to allow defendant Jonathan Toebbe to serve 12 years in prison and his wife, Diana, to go for just 3 years.

According to The New York Times, the judge called Diana Toebbe the “worst kind” of felon, saying “lower-level drug dealers” have gone to prison for longer than three years. Groh went on to say the agreements were “strikingly deficient” and insinuated she would most likely reject any plea that didn’t follow sentencing guidelines. That means they could each serve 15 years of more.

Authorities arrested the couple last year. Jonathan Toebbe was a nuclear engineer who worked for the Navy. He had an active security clearance and allegedly stole data that he tried to sell to Brazilian officials, who notified the FBI. Diana Toebbe acted as a lookout when he was at a dead drop.

Do you agree with the judge?

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