The wife of a naval engineer USA has pleaded guilty to trying to help her husband sell nuclear submarine secrets to a foreign country.
Diana Toebbe, 46, served as her husband’s lookout while he dropped off inside information at a drop-off point.
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It was even reported that on one occasion, the man had hidden a memory card with information inside a peanut butter sandwich.
Toebbe, a former teacher, could spend up to three years in jail under a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
Diana’s husband, Jonathan Toebbe, 42, had already pleaded guilty this week.
Investigators claimed that for years, Jonathan Toebbe had collected information on nuclear submarines and removed documents from his work, page by page, to get past surveillance checkpoints.
“I was extremely careful to collect the files in my possession slowly and naturally, as part of the routine of my work, so that no one would suspect my plan,” Jonathan Toebbe wrote to an undercover investigator, believing he was working for a government. Foreign.
Toebbe, unaware that he had walked into a trap, came to trust the undercover investigator.
In one of the notes, Toebbe wrote about their friendship and his hopes for the future: “One day, when it’s safe, suddenly a couple of friends will have the chance to meet casually in a cafe, share a bottle of wine and laugh at each other.” the stories of their exploits together.”
Under the agreement he signed with prosecutors, he could receive a sentence of between 12 and 17 years in prison.
Who were the Toebbes?
Both Diana and Jonathan Toebbe pleaded guilty in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, to conspiring to transmit restricted information.
Before they were arrested in October, Diana and Jonathan Toebbe lived with their two children in Annapolis, Maryland, home to the US Naval Academy.
Diana Toebbe taught history and English at a private school. She has a doctorate in anthropology from Emory University in Atlanta.
Jonathan Toebbe served in the Navy before becoming a member of the military reserves. He worked in the office of the chief of naval operations in Arlington, Virginia.
Prosecutors had argued the couple were flight risks, citing messages from the couple about a quick exit from the US.
Diana Toebbe’s lawyers said those messages referred to the woman’s discomfort with then-President Donald Trump and had nothing to do with a plot to sell classified information to a foreign nation.
an unusual deal
A plea deal in these types of cases is unusual, but it can be reached. Legal experts say federal investigators take these types of cases very seriously, though they may be willing to support a lighter sentence in exchange for information.
Sometimes, says Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University in New York, “prosecutors drop the maximum sentence for a defender as long as they say things that can help them in counterintelligence operations.”
In this case, investigators clearly wanted to find out something from the pair: Jonathan Toebbe had requested $100,000, cryptocurrency payments, according to the affidavit written by federal investigators, in exchange for the nuclear secrets.
As part of their plea deal, the couple said they would help the FBI recover the cryptocurrency they received as part of the investigation that led to their arrest.
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