Maryland couple accused of selling underwater secrets appear in court

MARTINSBURG, West Virginia – The Maryland couple accused of trying to sell some of the secrets of America’s best-kept nuclear submarines...


MARTINSBURG, West Virginia – The Maryland couple accused of trying to sell some of the secrets of America’s best-kept nuclear submarines have made their first court appearance since their arrest over the weekend.

The couple, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, were accused of sell nuclear propulsion secrets to an undercover FBI officer through a series of dead drops containing memory cards hidden in peanut butter sandwiches, gum packs and bandage wrappers.

Although they appeared separately on Tuesday, each was individually charged with Disclosure of Restricted Data and Conspiracy to Disclose Restricted Data, charges that could lead to life in prison. None of them were invited to plead in their brief initial appearances.

The federal court hearing in Martinsburg, Va. For Jonathan Toebbe was completed in five minutes. After reviewing an affidavit from Mr. Toebbe listing his finances, trial judge Robert W. Trumble said Mr. Toebbe was qualified for duty counsel and scheduled two hearings: one Friday for a hearing. on his continued detention and a first hearing of the case for next Wednesday.

Mr Toebbe, wearing a mask to protect himself against Covid-19, sat in an orange prison jumpsuit with chain handcuffs binding his arms and ankles. A former naval officer, he had a cropped military haircut and answered the judge in a clear, steadfast voice.

Ms Toebbe, with short graying hair and a blue surgical mask, was also tied with chains and wore an orange jumpsuit. She was brought in a few minutes after her husband left the courtroom. The two could not see each other, even when passing through the courtroom.

She also obtained permission to have recourse to a court-appointed lawyer. The court set him similar detention and preliminary hearing dates.

As he did with Mr Toebbe, Judge Trumble told Ms Toebbe that she would have the opportunity to speak with a lawyer before the next hearing on Friday.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the case or what penalties they might seek.

The Justice Department has requested the continued detention of Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear propulsion expert who, after leaving the military, worked for the US Navy as a civilian, and his wife, a history professor and of English, saying they were at risk of fleeing because they faced life. penalties in case of conviction.

The first drop of information where the FBI first identified the Toebbes took place in West Virginia, which is why the government laid charges there.

The case caused waves of confusion in Annapolis, Md., Where the couple lived with their two school-aged children, and at the private school where Ms Toebbe worked.

Jonathan Toebbe’s friends struggled to reconcile the devoted father and organized scientist they knew with the image presented in court documents of a botched amateur spy.

Ms. Toebbe was a teacher and directory consultant with a dedicated audience among students and graduates who admired her fierce feminism and progressive outlook.

Kitty bennett contributed research.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Maryland couple accused of selling underwater secrets appear in court
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