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Prosecution Says Confessed Spy Passed Lie-Detector Test

April 24, 1986

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Confessed spy ringleader John Walker has passed a new lie-detector test that implicates accused spy Jerry Whitworth, prosecutors in the Whitworth trial say.

They argued in papers filed Wednesday that the results of a polygraph test taken last week should supersede those of an earlier test that Walker flunked.

U.S. District Judge John Vukasin has already ruled that the previous results, from last July, will be revealed to jurors after Walker testifies for the government. He is set to begin his testimony Monday.

Whitworth, 46, of Davis, Calif., a retired Navy radioman, is charged with selling secrets about Navy code and communications systems for $332,000 to a Soviet-controlled spy ring led by Walker, his longtime friend.

The prosecution papers said Walker was tested again after Vukasin’s ruling last week and said he had told the FBI truthfully that he had paid Whitworth for giving him classified material. The examiner concluded he was telling the truth, and the FBI’s polygraph laboratory agreed, prosecutors said.

The prosecution said it would prefer to exclude all lie-detector evidence, arguing in a separate motion Wednesday that such evidence is unreliable and would leave jurors ″diverted, confused and pre-empted from their function as the judges of credibility.″

But if any lie-detector results are allowed into evidence, ″this result should be the first candidate,″ because it is more recent and more related to the case than the first test, the prosecution said.

Defense lawyer James Larson said he was disturbed that he hadn’t been notified of the recent test in advance, and wanted to see all the results before deciding what to do. He said the defense might ask to administer its own lie-detector test to Walker.

Walker pleaded guilty to espionage in Baltimore last October and agreed to testify against Whitworth in exchange for a reduced sentence for Walker’s son, Michael, who also pleaded guilty. A fourth defendant, John Walker’s brother Arthur, was convicted of spying.

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