Wen Ho Lee Supporters Seek Pardon
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Supporters of former Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee have gathered 15,000 signatures seeking a presidential pardon they hope will clear his name.
Lee, who was prosecuted for making copies of sensitive nuclear weapons data, pleaded guilty to a single count of downloading data to computer tape at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has said he made copies to protect data from being erased.
Lee was held in solitary confinement for nine months, though never charged with spying. He was sentenced to time served.
The petition was sent to President Bush on July 2 on behalf of Lee and was to be sent Friday to the Justice Department, said Cecilia Chang of Fremont, Calif., who launched the petition drive.
A telephone message left for the White House Thursday seeking comment was not returned.
Almost 10,000 signatures were gathered in the last few days of June, and organizers hope to have 30,000 by Labor Day, Chang said.
The letter to Bush said Lee was held unnecessarily without bail and had to plead guilty to get out of jail. The petition said the case ``stands as an example of a miscarriage of justice that should be remedied.″
Lee was arrested in December 1999 and indicted on 59 felony counts alleging he transferred nuclear weapons information to unsecure computers and tape.
As the government’s case crumbled, Lee was set free in September 2000 after pleading to the lone felony count.
The Lee investigation caused nearly two years of controversy over the alleged loss of nuclear secrets to China and lax security at the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons laboratories.