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Scientists’ No-Bail Ruling Upheld

February 29, 2000

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a fired government scientist’s effort to secure release on bail until he is tried on charges of breaching security at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Wen Ho Lee will remain in jail awaiting trial on charges he illegally downloaded nuclear secrets from secured to unsecured computers and to computer tapes, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in Denver.

Defense attorney Mark Holscher would not comment on whether he plans an appeal to the Supreme Court, saying, ``We’re going to evaluate our options.″

``We strongly believe Dr. Lee should be released,″ Holscher said in Los Angeles. ``The 10th Circuit relied on the government’s claim that there are seven missing tapes. We have twice offered to take polygraphs on this issue to prove that they were destroyed. We will continue to press for Dr. Lee’s release.″

Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Gorence said: ``Five federal judges have now examined the issue of Lee’s dangerousness and without exception have determined that if he were at liberty prior to trial, Mr. Lee would pose an unacceptable risk to national security.″

Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Taiwan, is charged with 59 counts involving security breaches _ but not espionage. His trial is set for Nov. 6. He could get life in prison if convicted.

Lee is accused of downloading classified information onto unsecured computers and computer tapes, seven of which prosecutors contend may still exist. Lee has said the tapes were destroyed.

Lee’s supporters say the government is trying to make him a scapegoat for the government’s security shortcomings.

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