Edwin P. Wilson, the former CIA agent, was convicted today of smuggling high explosives to Libya, and minutes after the verdict federal prosecutors asked that he be declared a "dangerous special offender" for allegedly offering $1 million to have nine people assassinated.
Court papers released after the trial said that Wilson, while in a New York jail cell last fall, allegedly offered to pay a "hit man" to kill two prosecutors and seven witnesses, some of whom testified against Wilson in his 10-day trial here.
Wilson was convicted today of masterminding the sale of 20 tons of explosives to Libya in 1977 for more than $300,000 in profits.
If Judge Ross N. Sterling declares Wilson a "dangerous special offender," as prosecutors asked, that status could raise the maximum penalty for Wilson's conviction here from 17 to 25 years in prison. A hearing on the request will be held soon, U.S. Attorney Daniel K. Hedges said.
Today's verdict marked the Justice Department's second victory against Wilson's claim that he was acting as a "de facto CIA agent" while supplying arms, explosives and terrorist training to the regime of Col. Muammar Qaddafi during the past six years.
Wilson already is serving a 15-year prison term imposed in November in federal court in Alexandria, Va., for allegedly smuggling four handguns and an M16 rifle to Libyan agents in Europe and North Africa.
The CIA has denied that Wilson, who left the agency in 1971, had official sanction for his Libyan activities. A written agency denial, read to the jury here, was described as "devastating" today by chief defense lawyer Herald Price Fahringer.
Wilson, 54, who faces two more trials on similar charges in Washington, D.C., later this year, stood with his hands clasped before him and stared at the floor as the verdict was read in U.S. District Court. He left the courtroom without speaking.
Government documents detailing the "hit man" allegations against Wilson were kept under seal during the trial and were not revealed to the 12-member jury.
Wilson, who also faces a $145,000 fine, was found guilty of conspiracy, filing a false Customs declaration, exporting controlled munitions without a license and illegally shipping explosives aboard an aircraft.
Prosecutors charged that Wilson arranged with a California explosives dealer to buy and ship 42,300 pounds of C4, a high explosive, from Houston to Libya on Oct. 3, 1977, aboard a chartered cargo jet. Government testimony indicated that part of the C4 was used to make exploding lamps, toasters and other booby traps for Libyan terrorists.
Included on the alleged hit list made public today were the explosives dealer, Jerome S. Brower; Reginald Slocombe, a former Wilson business associate; Edward Coughlin, Wilson's ex-financial manager, and John Heath, a former Army weapons expert recruited by Wilson to train Libyan terrorists. All four testified here against Wilson.
Also on the list were Ernest Keiser, a northern Virginia businessman who helped prosecutors lure Wilson out of Libya last summer, and Raphael Quintero and Francis Heydt, former Wilson associates.
The two U.S. prosecutors allegedly marked for murder were identified as E. Lawrence Barcella and Carol Bruce, both of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington.
According to court papers filed by the government, Wilson asked a fellow prisoner in November to help him hire an assassin to kill all nine. Wilson allegedly offered to pay $50,000 per victim for the deaths of the seven potential witnesses and $250,000 each to kill Barcella and Bruce.
The documents charged that Wilson furnished written descriptions of the intended victims and through his son paid a $10,000 deposit, using financial assets in Europe, to hire the hit man. The "assassin" reportedly was an undercover FBI agent.
The alleged death list is evidence that Wilson is "deadly serious and is extremely dangerous," the government documents charged.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Greenberg told reporters that other of Wilson's alleged activities are under investigation in at least two federal districts, but he declined to elaborate.
The documents estimated Wilson's personal net worth in 1982 at $20 million, much of it allegedly the fruits of "illegal transactions" with Libya.
Prosecutors charged that Wilson drew on "special skills and knowledge acquired in the intelligence-gathering field to implement a pattern of criminal conduct."
Defense lawyer Fahringer said today's conviction, like the Alexandria verdict, will be appealed on grounds that Wilson has been prevented in pretrial hearings from obtaining CIA records that would exonerate him.