Federal court rejects petition by former navy analyst convicted of spying for Israel and sent to life in prison
Yitzhak Benhorin - YNet News.com - July 22, 2005
WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal appeals court rejected Friday a petition by Jonathan Pollard , who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of spying for Israel in a 1987 trial.
The former navy analyst was convicted after confessing to the charges against him and received a life sentence despite striking a plea bargain with prosecutors.
In recent years, Pollard claimed that his conviction stemmed from inadequate legal representation. In 2003, he appealed his conviction, but a Washington court rejected it. However, Pollard did not give up and petitioned the court again using additional arguments.
This time, the appeal was heard by three judges, who decided there were no legal grounds to change the previous ruling.
Weinberger's testimony hurt Pollard
Pollard's attorneys also asked the court to allow them to examine secret documents presented to judges during Pollard's original trial by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
It was Weinberger's testimony that led to Pollard's heavy sentence, despite the plea bargain agreement.
However, the court rejected that request as well, on the grounds that federal courts have no legal authority to allow access to classified materials in the framework of an amnesty request.
Pollard recently met with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon, in what was characterized as a "difficult conversation." Meanwhile, at one point Pollard charged Israel was conspiring to prevent his release.