Jurors Hear Tapes of Tryst Between Former FBI Agent and Russian Emigre
May. 24, 1985
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former FBI agent accused of spying for the Soviet Union was heard to teasingly tell a Russian woman, ''Go home before I attack you,'' in a secretly made government tape packed with sounds of kissing and giggling.
A microphone hidden in his car recorded the meeting between former agent Richard W. Miller and Svetlana Ogorodnikov on Sept. 12, 1984. FBI agents said that the tryst took place in a parking lot about two blocks from the FBI building in the Westwood area of Los Angeles.
Jurors heard Miller tell Mrs. Ogorodnikov, ''You've taken my heart. This is the part of the heart they can't operate on.''
There were sounds of kissing and giggling as Miller was heard telling Mrs. Ogorodnikov teasingly, ''Go home before I attack you.''
The tape was one of three recordings introduced Thursday by the government, which alleges that Mrs. Ogorodnikov, 34, and her husband, Nikolay, 51, conspired with Miller to pass classified information to the Soviet Union. Miller, 47, still awaits trial.
However, one of the tapes was read only in transcript after an FBI agent testified that the original was destroyed.
The first tape played Thursday was nearly unintelligible because of the sound of cars in the background, and jurors were given large black earphones to hear an enhanced version. Mrs. Ogorodnikov, however, refused to wear them.
Earlier, a color videotape was shown in which a figure identified as Miller drove a car very slowly around a parking lot twice, then stopped and sat in the car, tapping a letter-size white envelope on the dashboard.
At the end of the tape, another car drove up. Its driver was identified as Mrs. Ogorodnikov. Miller, carrying the envelope, got into Mrs. Ogorodnikov's car, and they drove away.
The government contends that the nvelope contained classified documents.
A team of FBI agents also testified about non-stop surveillance of the couple.
Agent Edward L. Freyer described watching Miller and Mrs. Ogorodnikov dining and whispering at a restaurant. They left the restaurant and walked along the beach in Santa Monica, he said.
''They walked very slowly, very deliberately, and they were still engrossed in the conversation they were having,'' Freyer said. ''I felt they were not aware of anything going on around them.''
Jurors also heard testimony about two recordings of Mrs. Ogorodnikov's telephone conversations. But only one tape was played in the courtroom.
The agent who overheard the conversation, Michael di Pretoro, read the jurors a transcript he made from his ''working tape,'' later destroyed.
He said he found out recently that the master tape of the conversation had been improperly recorded and was useless.
The transcript said Miller called Mrs. Ogorodnikov and addressed her by the nickname Lana.
''This is Boris,'' Miller said as an introduction.
The use of the name was never explained, but the agent said Mrs. Ogorodnikov responded ''in a somewhat excited fashion'' when she recognized the voice.
The conversation, on Sept. 15, 1984, and another on Sept. 16 were primarily taken up with Miller's inquiries about Mrs. Ogorodnikov's health.
''How are you feeling?'' Miller asked on the tape which was played in court.
''All right, I'm so much more better,'' Mrs. Ogorodnikov responded with her heavy accent.
Miller asked several times if she was taking her pills and urged her to get some rest and feel better.