American Who Spied for East Germany Freed on Probation
STUTTGART, Germany (AP) _ A state court convicted American professor Jeffrey Schevitz on Friday of spying for former East Germany and sentenced him to 18 months in jail, then freed him on three years probation.
Schevitz, 55, had been charged with providing the communist Stasi intelligence agency with West German nuclear information from 1977 through 1990.
Schevitz admitted he spied for the East Germans but claimed he was working as a double agent for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of 3 1/2 years. They said Schevitz received $23,000 while he was working for the Stasi but admitted the information he gave them was of little value.
In his closing plea, Schevitz broke into tears and begged the court’s mercy. He said he did what he did to ``prevent war in Europe.″
Schevitz and his 40-year-old wife, Beatrice Altman, told the court they were hired to work for the CIA by Shepard Stone, a U.S. diplomat who died in 1990.
Schevitz later told the court he had seven CIA contact officers, prompting Chief Judge Helmut Holzapfel admonish him for repeatedly changing his story.
The CIA in Washington and Stone’s widow both denied Stone had anything to do with Schevitz.
``He was an agent for idealistic reasons,″ Holzapfel said. ``In Schevitz’s favor was the fact that he admitted at least in part his guilt.″
Charges against Altman for helping to spy were dropped after she agreed to pay a $7,100 fine.
Schevitz led protests against the Vietnam War at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1960s. He held teaching jobs at Washington University in St. Louis and the State University of New York before moving to Germany in 1976.
While in Germany, he worked as a university professor in West Berlin, and later as a researcher in Bonn and a policy analyst at the Nuclear Research Center in Karlsruhe.