The judge handling the case against a married couple accused of trying to sell nuclear secrets ordered the wife kept behind bars despite her claim she had no idea what her husband was up to.
Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear engineer at the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program, and his wife, Diana, have been accused of espionage-related charges following alleged efforts to sell nuclear submarine secrets to an unnamed foreign government. The two appeared separately before Magistrate Judge Robert Trumble of West Virginia on Wednesday, where the husband didn’t fight being jailed, but Diana claimed innocence.
“The nature and circumstances of the charges against her and her actions demonstrate that defendant is a danger to every community and to our national security by clear and convincing evidence,” said Trumble, who also deemed her a flight risk.
Prosecutors say Diana, a history and English teacher at the Key School in Annapolis, helped Jonathan in his scheme, as they passed information to undercover FBI agents in SD cards hidden in a peanut butter sandwich, a Band-Aid, and a gum package.
Trumble said the evidence showed that Diana “was present at three of the four dead drops” and that FBI surveillance video of the dead drops shown in court revealed Diana was “a willing participant in the activity.”
FBI special agent Peter Olinits said Diana only missed one because she’d had ankle surgery.
The formal indictment against the Toebbes was released Tuesday, charging them with one count of “conspiracy to communicate restricted data” and two counts of “communication of restricted data.”
Diana Toebbes’s defense lawyer, Edward MacMahon, said she wanted to prove her innocence and should be allowed to return to her Maryland home ahead of the trial.
Trumble said that Diana’s defense team “presented no evidence or testimony, but argued that electronic monitoring, a third-party custodian, and no computer or internet access would suffice to prevent defendant from fleeing.” He said that “the court is unconvinced” and that “no bond conditions can be set to reasonably ensure the appearance of defendant and the safety of the community.”
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