Thursday, July 1, 2010

Defense attorney: Alleged spy couple infiltrated 'cocktail parties'

The Cambridge couple accused of being Russian spies waved and nodded at their two children today in a Boston courtroom, where their lawyers said they wanted the federal government to move swiftly to prove they are agents living under false identities.

Donald Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley wore prison garb, handcuffs, and leg shackles when they were escorted into US District Court.

US Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal asked the couple's new lawyers how she should address them, given that the FBI alleges Heathfield is using the name of a dead Canadian infant and Foley's real name is allegedly unknown.

"Donald Heathfield,'' said Peter Krupp, who is now representing the man who graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 2000 and allegedly claimed ties to top former US officials.

But Foley's attorney, veteran Boston defense attorney Robert Sheketoff, said he will use the identity federal prosecutors are using in court records – Defendant Number 5.

"I am going to take the position 'Defendant Number 5,''' Sheketoff told the magistrate judge.

The couple has hired Krupp and Sheketoff to represent them and they are no longer being represented by the federal public defender's office.

At the request of the attorneys, Boal ordered the couple to remain held without bail and set a new hearing for July 16 where federal prosecutors will be forced to demonstrate that Heathfield and his wife are Russian spies whom the FBI has followed for about a decade.

Boal is currently mulling a defense request that Heathfield and his wife be allowed to meet in the courthouse lockup so they can talk about the custody for their two sons, Timothy, 20, and Alex, 16. The couple are under court order not to speak with each other while the case is pending.

But Krupp told Boal the conversation is needed.

"There are obviously custody issues related to their kids that they have to deal with,'' Krupp said in court.

Late this afternoon and without any further public court hearing, Heathfield and his wife were allowed to spend about an hour together in the courthouse lockup -- with their attorneys present -- where they apparently talked about the future of their children.

"We appreciate that the US Marshals Service accommodated us,'' Sheketoff, Defendant Number 5's attorney, said this afternoon. "Because there were children involved.''

When Foley arrived, she looked around the courtroom and exchanged smiles with her two sons. When her handcuffs were removed, she gave them a brief wave, which they returned. Their father did not make direct eye contact when he was brought into the courtroom but later gave them a stern nod that was also returned.

The children were accompanied by a woman who works in Krupp's office and both declined comment before and after the hearing.

The hearing, before a packed courtroom, was brief. Afterward, Sheketoff and the federal prosecutors declined comment.

Krupp, however, said his client and his client's wife were guilty only of being parents who lived in Cambridge and went to parties in the neighborhoods.

"My client and his wife right now are worried about their kids,'' Krupp said. "I read the complaint affidavit in terms of facts alleged against my client and his wife. It's extremely thin. It essentially suggests that they successfully infiltrated neighborhoods, cocktail parties and the PTA. My client looks forward to facing the charges.''

By Jack Nicas and Alex Katz, Globe Correspondents, and Shelley Murphy and John R. Ellement, Globe Staff.

Source: The Boston Globe

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