Cuba spies cooperating with U.S. authorities, officials say

McClatchy NewspapersApril 27, 2010 

WASHINGTON — Admitted spies Walter and Gwendolyn Myers have met with federal officials 50 to 60 times to divulge details of their three decades of spying for Cuba, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.

The Washington couple pleaded guilty in November to sending secrets to the United States' longtime antagonist, agreeing to cooperate with the federal government in a deal that offered Gwendolyn Myers a much lighter sentence than she might have faced otherwise.

Walter Myers — a former State Department employee with top-secret clearance — agreed to a life sentence without parole. Gwendolyn Myers could have faced as much as 20 years in prison, but under the plea deal, she might serve six to seven and a half years.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Tuesday set a sentencing date for July 16. The couple have asked Walton to place them in prisons as close together as possible.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Michael Harvey told Walton that the government had expected the "debriefings" with the couple to take six months, and that investigators were "still on track" and expected to finish the talks in 30 to 40 days.

The couple appeared in Walton's courtroom Tuesday for the first time in months. They were in seemingly good spirits, clad in dark blue jail jumpsuits and long-sleeved white shirts. They didn't address the court. They had said in November — through a lawyer — that they'd acted "not out of selfish motive or hope of personal gain, but out of conscience and personal commitment."

They have agreed to pay the government about $1.7 million, the salary that Walter Myers earned while he worked at the State Department. They'll forfeit their Washington apartment, a 37-foot sailboat, a vehicle, and various bank and investment accounts.

They were charged last June with wire fraud, serving as illegal agents for Cuba and conspiring to deliver classified information. Walter Myers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage and two counts of wire fraud. The espionage charge could carry a death sentence, but prosecutors did not seek one.

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