A former employe of ex-CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson testified yesterday that Wilson threatened to kill the employe's wife if he cooperated with U.S. authorities investigating Wilson's alleged arms dealings in Libya.
Jurors in the Alexandria trial of Wilson on conspiracy and gun-running charges later began deliberations on a verdict before retiring for the night. The jury is expected to resume its work this morning.
Peter R. Goulding, an office manager for Wilson in Europe, said Wilson's alleged threat came after Goulding expressed doubts in a May 1980 meeting in Geneva about Wilson's claim he was working for the CIA in Libya.
"I had good reason to suspect" that wasn't so, Goulding said. At a pizza restaurant, Goulding said, Wilson told him he "had everything under control" and "he said he could control me as well. That knocked me back."
As Wilson grew tense and dug his knife into the table, according to Goulding, the former spy "said he knew my weaknesses . . . that he would prevent me from going back to the United States. He said he'd kill my wife."
Lawyers for the 54-year-old Wilson have argued he was supplying vital intelligence to American authorities at the same time he was furnishing supplies, arms and training to the Libyan military. Prosecutors have said the CIA regarded information from Wilson as worthless.
The introduction of evidence in the U.S. District Court trial, which had been expected to take up to a week, ended abruptly at noon yesterday as the defense rested its case after 2 1/2 hours. The prosecution took less than a day.
Neither side called CIA officials to the witness stand to testify about Wilson's claim of ties to the agency while in Libya.
"What was there to rebut?" said one member of the prosecution team, asked later why the government had offered no rebuttal witnesses. Wilson himself did not take the stand.
Wilson, who was lured back from Libya and arrested earlier this year, faces up to 44 years in prison and a $245,000 fine if convicted on all counts in Virginia. He still faces trials in Texas and Washington on separate charges related to his alleged overseas activities.
Under government cross-examination, Roberta Barnes, former head of Wilson's London office, said yesterday that Wilson received about $22 million from the Libyans on contracts to supply arms, uniforms, maintenance personnel and other services to military forces.
"This is a case of greed," said chief prosecutor Theodore S. Greenberg in his closing argument to the jury. "What he Wilson did he did on his own."
Defense lawyer Herald Price Fahringer called the government's emphasis on Wilson's lucrative contracts "a pretty shabby argument." Said Fahringer, "This case should be called 'The Spy Who Was Left Out in the Cold.' "