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Russia Convicts American Businessman Edmond Pope of EspionageAired December 6, 2000 - 9:11 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: But as we mentioned at the top of the newscast, we also have a story breaking on the world front and that is that American businessman Edmond Pope has been convicted of espionage in Russia.
For more on that, let's go to our Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty standing by.
Jill, good morning.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Good morning, Daryn.
Well, it happened just a few minutes ago in a Russian court. Edmond Pope, 54-year-old businessman and a former naval intelligence officer has been found guilty of espionage. He was given the maximum sentence, that is 20 years in a maximum security prison camp. The guards in the courtroom this morning allowed his wife Cheri to hold hands with him as that verdict was read.
Mr. Pope has been accused of trying to buy classified information on a high-speed torpedo, he said that he was not guilty of that, that what he was trying to buy was freely available and that it was not secret. The other complication about this case has been his health. Mr. Pope has been treated in the United States for a rare form of bone cancer and his wife and his lawyer had maintained that he is still sick and that this would be very dangerous for him, Cheri Pope saying that he would die if he were sent to prison. The Russian judge apparently in the sentence today made no mention of any type of sickness. She said that he apparently was healthy.
This, also, has become a very highly charged political case as well. President Clinton of the United States, President Putin of Russia discussing this at the highest level. Also, Congress urging President Clinton if Mr. Pope were to be found guilty to end economic aid.
Mr. Astakhov, who's the lawyer for Edmond Pope, came out and said he did not believe that this was at all a fair trial. Pope has seven days to appeal, but his lawyer is not saying at this point whether he will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Back to you, Daryn.
KAGAN: Jill Dougherty in Washington, thank you very much. More on Edmond Pope's situation a little bit later in the newscast. Thank you for that breaking news.
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