Maryland Couple Accused of Selling Submarine Secrets Appear in Court

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Maryland couple accused of trying to promote some of America’s most intently guarded nuclear submarine secrets and techniques made their first look in court docket since they had been arrested over the weekend.

The couple, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, had been accused of selling nuclear propulsion secrets to an undercover F.B.I. officer throughout a collection of useless drops over the course of this yr that includes reminiscence playing cards hidden in peanut butter sandwiches, gum packages and Band-Aid wrappers.

The couple had been each charged with communication of restricted knowledge and conspiracy to speak restricted knowledge, fees that might result in life in jail. Neither of them was requested to enter a plea throughout their brief appearances.

The listening to in federal court docket in Martinsburg, W.Va., for Jonathan Toebbe was over in 5 minutes. The Justice of the Peace choose, Robert W. Trumble, stated Mr. Toebbe certified for a court-appointed lawyer and set two hearings: one on Friday for a listening to on his continued detention and a preliminary listening to in the case for subsequent week.

Mr. Toebbe, carrying a masks to guard in opposition to Covid-19, sat in an orange jail leap go well with. A former naval officer, he had close-cropped army haircut, and responded to the choose in a transparent, unwavering voice.

Ms. Toebbe, with brief graying hair and likewise carrying an orange jumpsuit, was introduced in second, after her husband had left the courtroom. They weren’t capable of see every one other. They have two school-age kids.

She too was granted permission for a court-appointed lawyer. The court docket set comparable detention and preliminary listening to dates for her.

The Justice Department has sought the continued detention of each Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear propulsion skilled who after leaving the army labored for the U.S. Navy as a civilian, and his spouse, a historical past and English instructor, saying they had been flight dangers as a result of they face life sentences if convicted.

The preliminary useless drop of info the place the F.B.I. first recognized the Toebbes befell in West Virginia, which is why the federal government introduced fees there.

Jonathan Toebbe might face greater than 15 years in jail ought to he resolve to plead responsible, primarily based on comparable circumstances the place authorities scientists have tried to promote undercover secrets and techniques to a overseas energy.

The case has despatched waves of confusion by means of Annapolis, Md., the place they lived, and the non-public college the place Ms. Toebbe taught.

Friends of Jonathan Toebbe have struggled to sq. the devoted father and arranged scientist they knew with the picture introduced in court docket paperwork of a sloppy beginner spy.

Ms. Toebbe was a instructor and yearbook adviser with a loyal following amongst college students and graduates who admired her fierce feminism and progressive outlook.

Kitty Bennett contributed analysis.

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