Pollard Loses Appeal Over Life Sentence

Sam Hananel - Associated Press - July 22, 2005

WASHINGTON (July 22) - A federal appeals court Friday rejected convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's latest effort to reduce the life sentence he received for selling military secrets to Israel while working as an intelligence analyst for the Navy. [J4JP: Not true! Pollard did NOT sell secrets to Israel. As an Israeli agent he passed information to Israel, not for pay. See the Facts Page.]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that Pollard waited too long to try to contest his 1987 sentence and failed to make a convincing case that he got poor legal help.

The court also ruled that it had no authority to review Pollard's request to see secret documents the Reagan administration submitted to the judge who imposed the sentence 16 years ago.

Pollard's lawyers said they needed to see the material to rebut government arguments against any new appeal or against a request for presidential clemency. Pollard is serving a life sentence at the federal prison in Butner, N.C.

The legal challenge to Pollard's sentence was always viewed as a long shot, and his supporters have focused much of their effort on winning presidential clemency.

Pollard, who turns 51 next month, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet. He was not paid when his spying began in 1984, but acknowledged that Israel later began paying him a few thousand dollars a month.

He was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli embassy. Pollard initially denied he worked for Israel but later acknowledged it. He claims prosecutors reneged on a promise to seek a lesser sentence in return for his cooperation.

His case has been a sticking point in U.S.-Israeli relations. The Israeli government, which granted Pollard citizenship, repeatedly has pressed for his release.

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