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Russia: Accused U.S. Spy Prepares To Testify

Moscow, 23 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - Imprisoned U.S. businessman Edmond Pope is expected to read a statement proclaiming his innocence today as his espionage trial resumes in a Moscow courtroom. Pope, a retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer, was arrested in April on charges of trying to buy secret blueprints for a high-speed torpedo used by Russia's military. Pope's trial is being conducted behind closed doors, and last week a Moscow court rejected three separate defense requests: to admit new evidence, to record the trial proceedings, and to order a new medical examination of Pope, who suffers from a rare form of bone cancer. Pope's illness was in remission when he was arrested.

Pope faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of gathering "information that constitutes a state secret."