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Soviet Woman Says She Lied When She Said FBI Agent Met With KGB

May 3, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A convicted Soviet spy, a key witness in the espionage trial of former FBI agent Richard W. Miller, now says she lied when she said he once met at poolside with an agent of the Soviet KGB.

Svetlana Ogorodnikov, undergoing intense government cross-examination, insisted Friday that Miller, the only FBI agent ever charged with spying, did not meet with the KGB man who is an unindicted co-conspirator in Miller’s espionage case.

″He did not meet anybody,″ she said of Miller, who sat across the courtroom scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Hayman confronted Mrs. Ogorodnikov with statements she made last year while negotiating a plea bargain with the government. She acknowledged incriminating Miller but insisted, ″I told that because I wanted to plead guilty.″

Her remark was ordered stricken from the court record by the judge, who said it was not responsive to the prosecutor’s questions.

Miller, 47, is accused of giving Mrs. Ogorodnikov classified documents in exchange for promises of $65,000 in gold and cash. A jury deadlock in November forced his current retrial.

Mrs. Ogorodnikov, 35, and her husband, Nikolay, 53, are serving prison sentences after pleading guilty last June to conspiring with Miller to pass classified documents to the Soviets.

On Friday, Hayman produced an enlarged photograph of Alexander Grishin, a KGB man previously identified in the trial.

″I don’t know him,″ Mrs. Ogorodnikoiv said of the man in the picture. ″I don’t know his name.″

Hayman tried to show that a meeting with Grishin was the true purpose of an illicit weekend of sex and drinking in August 1984, which both Miller and Mrs. Ogorodnikov have described previously.

Mrs. Ogorodnkov said the true purposes of the trip to San Francisco were for her to pick up some Soviet films at the consulate and for the couple ″to have a good time.″

″When you were interviewed (by the prosecutors, FBI agents and lawyers), didn’t you tell them you saw Richard W. Miller meet with Alexander Grishin at the Holiday Inn in Livermore?″ asked Hayman.

″I told,″ said Mrs. Ogorodnikov. ″Can I explain?″

″I’m not asking for an explanation,″ Hayman responded.

″Did you observe a meeting between Mr. Miller and a Soviet official?″ Hayman asked.

″No, sir,″ she replied.

Mrs. Ogorodnikov admitted that the following morning, she phoned a Soviet consular official, Boris Belyakov, in San Francisco but said she was merely seeking information about the Soviet films she planned to show in Los Angeles.

There has been no evidence that Miller ever met Grishin. The FBI recorded a series of coded telephone conversations between Grishin and Mrs. Ogorodnikov, but there was no evidence they met either.

Grishin, said to have been the KGB man in San Francisco, left the United States shortly after Miller, Mrs. Ogorodnikov and her husband, Nikolay, were arrested and charged with espionage in October 1984.

Ending her second week on the witness stand, Mrs. Ogorodnikov calmly answered Hayman’s extensive questions about her sexual relationship with Miller. She acknowledged they had sex in motels and in his apartment but denied such activity ever took place in his car. Miller has said their first sexual encounter occurred in his small foreign car.

The government is trying to prove that sex and money were Miller’s motivations for spying.

But Mrs. Ogorodnikov flatly denied he ever mentioned seeking money from the Soviets and said she never offered him money.