- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2002

A federal judge yesterday agreed to delay until January the pending trial of Brian P. Regan, a retired Air Force sergeant accused of conspiring to sell U.S. secrets to Iraq, China and Libya.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria will set a new trial date May 13, but told prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case they had until Jan. 13 or later to prepare for trial.
Mr. Regan, 39, a former government contractor at the highly secret National Reconnaissance Office, faces the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges that accuse him of attempting to sell U.S. secrets for a $13 million fee.
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty asked Judge Regan to delay the trial, agreeing with defense attorneys that a June date should be postponed. He told the judge that while the government could be ready for trial May 29, it supported a "good faith" request by defense attorney Nina J. Ginsberg to delay the proceedings.
Ms. Ginsberg, Mr. Regan's court-appointed attorney, had told Judge Lee that the defense team could not be ready for a capital case without at least five months to examine documents and other evidence.
Mr. McNulty said it would take at least another 45 days or until June 5 to obtain security clearances to allow defense specialists to examine classified documents to be offered during trial. Judge Lee had set a June 3 trial date.
He also said that because the defense will argue the appropriateness of the death penalty it is the first time in decades the government has brought to trial capital espionage charges it could require additional time for both sides to prepare.
Judge Lee even noted in his order that it was "fair to say that the government's intent to seek the death penalty in this case was unexpected in light of other espionage cases heard in this district."
"This court regrets that defense counsel have the impression that the court is more concerned with the speed of the so-called 'rocket docket' than with fairness in this case," the judge wrote, referring to the Alexandria's court's reputation of quickly moving cases to trial.
Judge Lee also said defense lawyers had shown him "good cause" why the trial should be delayed, having given him sworn statements from legal experts "describing what work remains to be done on the case."
The government decided last week to seek the death penalty in the case, charging in court papers that Mr. Regan, a Bowie resident, offered to spy in letters to Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. Prosecutors said he told the prospective buyers he was "willing to commit espionage against the United States" by providing highly classified information.
In the court papers, Mr. McNulty said a sentence of death was justified if Mr. Regan is convicted because he "knowingly created a grave risk of substantial danger to the national security." He accused the former Air Force sergeant of "exceptional planning and premeditation" in plotting his espionage.

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