Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Accused Russian spies due in court today ...

CNN) -- More information about an alleged Russian spy ring that was operating in the United States is expected to be revealed Wednesday at court hearings in Virginia and Massachusetts, court officials said.

Accused Russian spies Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley have a newly scheduled hearing in Boston federal court at 11 a.m., according to their attorney, Paul Krupp.
Three other suspects, Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Mikhail Semenko, are scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Wednesday morning in an Alexandria, Virginia, federal court, the officials said.

Zottoli and Mills have already admitted that they are Russian citizens and have been living as a couple under false identities in Virginia. Prosecutors said that they made the admissions soon after being arrested and authorities have found evidence to support that information.
The other suspect, Semenko, is accused of aiding the plot by allegedly conducting private wireless computer links to communicate with a Russian government official, court documents said.

In all, 11 suspects were arrested in the alleged spy plot in late June.
Meanwhile, a human rights activist has raised the possibility that a Russian researcher convicted of spying for U.S. intelligence services could be exchanged for one of the spy suspects in the United States.

Ernst Chyorny, a member of the Public Committee in Defense of Scientists in Russia, told CNN on Wednesday that the mother of Igor Sutyagin, the convicted Russian spy, told him about the development.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russian news agencies also reported that Sutyagin may be swapped along with other individuals in exchange for the people suspected of spying for Russia and detained in the United States.

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