Couple accused of spying for Cuba seeks house arrest

McClatchy NewspapersJune 17, 2009 

A retired couple accused of spying for Cuba say they're willing to put up their house and sailboat for bond if a federal judge will let them serve house arrest.

Walter Kendall Myers and Gwendolyn Myers say they're also prepared to be ordered to stay away from Cuba's equivalent of an embassy if U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton grants their request.

The couple is due back in court Wednesday to ask Walton to let them be released into the custody of Gwendolyn Myers' son.

A federal magistrate last week sided with U.S. prosecutors and ordered the couple jailed. The couple's lawyer will argue before Walton that "a combination of conditions can be set that will reasonably assure the Myers' appearance in this case."

The couple was arrested June 4 and has been held without bond since pleading not guilty to charges of wire fraud, serving as illegal agents for Cuba and conspiring to deliver classified information. U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola last week declared the couple a flight risk, suggesting they could flee to Cuba or its Cuban Interests Section in Washington.

But the Myerses argue through an attorney that defendants must be released prior to trial unless the court can't find a way to "reasonably assure the appearance of the person."

The Myerses note that in one case, the court ordered the release of a defendant who allegedly acquired products capable of triggering nuclear weapons, even though "the weight of the evidence against the defendant was substantial" and the defendant was an Israeli national with no ties to the United States. He was released subject to home detention, electronic monitoring, posting $100,000 of his own money and release into a rabbi's custody.

The Myerses propose they be released after posting bond with their own money – putting up their apartment, their sailboat and $250,000 in cash. They would have to surrender all travel documents and not apply for new documents.

They would be released into the custody of Brad Trebilcock, Gwendolyn Myers' son, and would be held under electronic monitoring, for which they would pay.

Facciola said last week that he feared the Myerses live too close to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington to be apprehended if they decide to flee there. The couple says in court documents they could be ordered to stay away from the building or serve house arrest "at least 20 miles from the Cuban Interests Section."

They would also agree to stay at least 20 miles from their sailboat in Annapolis and to surrender "all maps or other navigational equipment related to Cuba's navigable waters."

In a search of the Myerses home, investigators say they found an entry on their calendar for a sailing trip to the Caribbean in November. They also found sailing charts for Cuban waters, a travel guide to Cuba and a book titled On Becoming Cuban.

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