MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Maryland couple accused of making an attempt to promote a few of America’s most intently 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 by means of a sequence of useless drops that includes reminiscence playing cards hidden in peanut butter sandwiches, gum packages and Band-Support wrappers.
Although they appeared individually on Tuesday, every was charged individually with communication of restricted knowledge and conspiracy to speak restricted knowledge, prices that would result in life in jail. Neither of them was requested to enter a plea throughout their quick preliminary appearances.
The listening to in federal court docket in Martinsburg, W.Va., for Jonathan Toebbe was over in 5 minutes. After reviewing an affidavit from Mr. Toebbe itemizing his funds, 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 Wednesday.
Mr. Toebbe, carrying a masks to guard towards Covid-19, sat in an orange jail soar swimsuit with chain-linked cuffs binding his arms and ankles. A former naval officer, he had a close-cropped army haircut, and responded to the decide in a transparent, unwavering voice.
Ms. Toebbe, with quick graying hair and a blue surgical masks, was additionally restrained in chains and wore an orange jumpsuit. She was introduced in a couple of minutes after her husband had left the courtroom. The 2 weren’t in a position to see every one other, even in passing within the courtroom.
She was additionally granted permission for a court-appointed lawyer. The court docket set related detention and preliminary listening to dates for her.
As he did with Mr. Toebbe, Decide Trumble instructed Ms. Toebbe she would have a possibility to talk with a lawyer earlier than the subsequent listening to on Friday.
Prosecutors declined to touch upon the case or the penalties they may search.
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 useless drop of knowledge the place the F.B.I. first recognized the Toebbes occurred in West Virginia, which is why the federal government introduced prices there.
The case has despatched waves of confusion by means of Annapolis, Md., the place the couple lived with their two school-age kids, and the personal faculty the place Ms. Toebbe labored.
Associates of Jonathan Toebbe have struggled to sq. the devoted father and arranged scientist they knew with the picture introduced in court docket paperwork of a sloppy novice spy.
Ms. Toebbe was a instructor and yearbook adviser with a faithful following amongst college students and graduates who admired her fierce feminism and progressive outlook.
Kitty Bennett contributed analysis.