Attorneys for a Russian emigre accused of luring an FBI agent into espionage said today that her indictment should be dismissed because investigators violated the attorney-client privilege by questioning her former lawyer.
In her first official statement on the circumstances of her arrest, Svetlana Ogorodnikova also complained of being harassed during a late-night interrogation by the FBI.
Motions released today in the case against Ogorodnikova, her husband Nikolay Ogorodnikov and the FBI agent she said was her lover, Richard W. Miller, said the FBI questioned her for 12 hours after her late-night arrest without informing her of her right to remain silent and seek legal counsel. An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
"She was interrogated twice without advice of her constitutional rights and without sleep or food, and was threatened, coerced and cajoled into making statements," attorneys Brad D. Brian and Gregory P. Stone charged. They asked U.S. District Court Judge David V. Kenyon to bar the use of those statements against Ogorodnikova, who alternatively bragged of working for the FBI and the Soviet secret police, the KGB.
In a declaration filed with the court, Ogorodnikova said she was awakened by her armed and frightened husband the night of Oct. 2 and told that a man was looking in their window. FBI agents entered and arrested them.
The FBI, her attorneys said, insisted that she was warned of her rights in the car on the way to the interrogation and two more times, but they noted that no witnesses were present except her and the agents.
During an interview in which she was often in tears, she said one "angry" agent would go in and out while other agents kept up the questioning.
"Early in the interview, the angry agent held out some tapes," she said. "He said they were recordings of a motel conversation between me and FBI agent Miller. He accused me of being immoral. He said he would play the tapes for my husband if I did not talk."
Ogorodnikova said she was asked, "Who do you like more, Hunt or Miller?" in what she took as a reference to what she has described as a previous sexual relationship with recently retired FBI agent John Hunt. Escorted to a restroom at one point, she said a female agent with her said, "Let's talk like friends. You can tell me the truth."
The next morning, while awaiting arraignment, she said two more agents persuaded her to sign a form she had not read on the strength of what she thought was a promise to free her husband.
Her attorneys asked that the charges be dismissed on the ground that the FBI was using information gained from an attorney, Donald E. Levinson, who agreed to be interviewed by the FBI to assure them "that he was not involved in any wrongdoing."
Levinson, in a declaration, said he had told the FBI about advising Ogorodnikova on her relationship with an agent whom her attorneys identified as Hunt, about helping her secure movies from Soviet consulates here, about seeking out a KGB defector at her husband's request and his view of the couples' "intelligence." All this was privileged information essential to their case, the attorneys said.