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Although the U.S. Navy plans to begin its long-awaited prosecution of Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel M. King for espionage today, lead defense lawyer Jonathan Turley is alleging that the Navy has spent the summer hampering defense efforts, in violation of an order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. On Aug. 10, Turley moved for a delay and a hearing on his charges. Navy prosecutors have asked the court to lift a stay imposed on May 8 so they can proceed with an Article 32 pretrial investigation, similar to a probable cause hearing, in Quantico, Va., where King is being held. An 18-year Navy veteran and cryptography expert who worked at the super-secret National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md., King has been charged with sending classified data on U.S. submarine intelligence gathering to the Russians in 1994. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death. The controversy began on March 2, when convening authority Vice Admiral Joseph S. Mobley told King’s lawyers that because they had different security clearances, they could not all meet with their client, or even with each other, outside the presence of a security officer. Turley challenged the order, and on May 8 the court ordered the Navy to equalize their clearances as a substitute for monitoring. The Navy promised that it would be only “a matter of weeks” until Turley, a professor at The George Washington University Law School and an occasional contributor to T he National Law Journal, was cleared. But Turley said that he didn’t receive clearance until Aug. 4. Although the Navy agreed that a security officer would be unnecessary once clearances were leveled, it still required the presence of such an officer to fulfill defense requests to access classified material, said Turley, who now alleges that the officer, Frank Wooten, is also a material prosecution witness involved in one of the “critical stages” of the case. “It now appears that every aspect of attorney-client communications has been compromised by the Navy,” Turley wrote Commander Mark Newcomb, staff judge advocate and counsel to Mobley, on Aug. 7. He later added, “We have essentially been given back our client but stripped of the ability to do anything meaningful with him.” Newcomb said he is “unaware of any circumstances that would cause Mr. Wooten to be a material witness.” Turley also alleged that King’s two military defense lawyers were forced to leave work product in a safe accessible to prosecutors. But Newcomb said prosecutors have never “reviewed, examined or disturbed” such materials, and added that the defense never requested an alternative storage space. Newcomb said that he is willing to have the charges in Turley’s Aug. 10 motion heard today, before the Article 32 proceeding formally begins.

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