MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Maryland couple accused of making an attempt to promote a few of America’s most carefully guarded nuclear submarine secrets and techniques made their first look in court docket since they have been arrested over the weekend.
The couple, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, have been accused of promoting nuclear propulsion secrets and techniques to an undercover F.B.I. officer throughout a sequence of lifeless drops over the course of this 12 months that includes reminiscence playing cards hidden in peanut butter sandwiches, gum packages and Band-Assist wrappers.
The couple have been each charged with communication of restricted knowledge and conspiracy to speak restricted knowledge, costs that might result in life in jail. Neither of them was requested to enter a plea throughout their quick 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 decide, 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 within the case for subsequent week.
Mr. Toebbe, carrying a masks to guard towards Covid-19, sat in an orange jail bounce swimsuit. A former naval officer, he had close-cropped army haircut, and responded to the decide in a transparent, unwavering voice.
Ms. Toebbe, with quick graying hair and in addition carrying an orange jumpsuit, was introduced in second, after her husband had left the courtroom. They weren’t capable of see one another. They’ve two school-age kids.
She too was granted permission for a court-appointed lawyer. The court docket set related detention and preliminary listening to dates for her.
The Justice Division has sought the continued detention of each Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear propulsion professional 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 have been flight dangers as a result of they face life sentences if convicted.
The preliminary lifeless drop of knowledge the place the F.B.I. first recognized the Toebbes happened in West Virginia, which is why the federal government introduced costs there.
Jonathan Toebbe may face greater than 15 years in jail ought to he determine to plead responsible, primarily based on related circumstances the place authorities scientists have tried to promote undercover secrets and techniques to a overseas energy.
The case has despatched waves of confusion via Annapolis, Md., the place they lived, and the non-public faculty the place Ms. Toebbe taught.
Buddies of Jonathan Toebbe have struggled to sq. the devoted father and arranged scientist they knew with the picture offered in court docket paperwork of a sloppy novice 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.