Jurors Head Back to Deliberation Room After Testimony Repeated
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ After more than three days of rehearing testimony, jurors in the Richard W. Miller spy trial went behind closed doors again Tuesday to try for a verdict in the case of the only FBI agent ever charged with espionage.
Court stenographer Kathleen Haaland, who began reading to jurors last Thursday, ended the recitation of the testimony they had requested at 10:30 a.m. The jury recessed at 4 p.m. without reaching a verdict.
The last words they heard were from FBI agent John Hunt, a key witness in the trial, who insisted he never tried to turn a Soviet woman into a double agent.
The unusually long repetition of testimony suggested that jurors were in dispute over issues raised in the trial and were seeking answers by hearing the witnesses’ words again.
U.S. Magistrate Joseph Reichmann warned the panelists to disregard questions to which objections were sustained and answers that were ultimately stricken from the court record. Reichmann presided over the rereading in the absence of U.S. District Judge David Kenyon who has another trial under way.
Miller, 48, who was handcuffed and taken back to a holding room in the federal courthouse after jurors left the courtroom, faces life in prison if convicted on all seven counts of his indictment.
The 20-year veteran of the FBI is charged with passing classified documents to the Soviet Union in exchange for promises of $65,000 in cash and gold. Miller’s co-defendants, his lover Svetlana Ogorodnikov and her husband, Nikolay, pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to jail.
The six women and six men of the jury had spent 41 hours pondering the case by the time they recessed Tuesday, their eighth day of deliberations.
The jury has reheard the testimony of three witnesses: Hunt, Armand Mauss, a scholar in Mormon theology, and Gary Auer, Miller’s former FBI supervisor.
Hunt was the agent who spent two years trying to develop Svetlana Ogorodnikov as an FBI informant before she met Miller and became his lover.
Mrs. Ogorodnikov has claimed she was also sexually involved with Hunt, but he denied that repeatedly and said he warned Miller to stay away from her in 1984.
In the portion of testimony reread Tuesday, Hunt was asked by defense attorney Joel Levine whether he tried to launch a double agent operation with Mrs. Ogorodnikov in 1982 just as Miller claims he did in 1984. Hunt said he did not.
He also denied sending Mrs. Ogorodnikov to the Soviet consulate in San Francisco to launch a ″disinformation program″ in which the Soviet woman would feed misleading facts to consular officials.
The jury has been asked to choose between two portraits of Miller - the government’s dark picture of a bitter, vengeful failure easily recruited as a spy by his Soviet lover or the defense vision of a well-intention ed FBI misfit who tried to redeem his career by infiltrating the Soviet spy network in the United States.