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Accused Spy Denies Documents Theft

June 22, 2001

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A Florida retiree adamantly denied charges he was a spy for the Soviets, testifying Friday that he never met with the KGB or handed over secret military documents.

``I don’t want to insult this court by using some vile language when I think of such accusations,″ George Trofimoff said as he returned to the witness stand in his federal espionage trial.

Trofimoff, 74, is accused of copying thousands of pages of secret military documents and selling them to the Soviets over a 25-year period.

The retired Army Reserve colonel is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be arrested on spy charges. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Trofimoff denied prosecutors’ claims that a Russian Orthodox priest he considered a brother recruited Trofimoff as a KGB agent. The priest, Igor Susemihl, never asked about Trofimoff’s job as head of an Army Interrogation Center in Nuremberg, Germany, he said.

``If my brother, if he would have ever mentioned to me ... that he was in any way connected to the KGB, I would have told him, ’Igor, you have just lost your little brother,‴ Trofimoff said.

He told jurors he would have promptly reported Susemihl to U.S. authorities had he known Susemihl was working for the KGB, as prosecutors allege.

Trofimoff was living in a military retirement community in Melbourne when he was arrested last year.

Last week, a former KGB general testified that he personally met Trofimoff twice and that Trofimoff was one of the KGB’s top spies.

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