A federal judge hearing the case against accused spy John Anthony Walker Jr. yesterday lifted an order that barred FBI Assistant Director Bill Baker from revealing certain information about the case.
In its place, U.S. District Judge Alexander Harvey II imposed a similar order applicable to all lawyers and others involved in the case, requiring that they comply with a local court rule that limits disclosure of information.
The order came in response to a motion by John Walker's lawyer, Fred Warren Bennett. Walker, a retired Navy chief warrant officer, faces trial in federal court in Baltimore with his son, Navy Seaman Michael Lance Walker, on six counts of espionage.
Bennett earlier withdrew a motion to have Baker held in contempt of court for statements about the case in newspaper interviews, particularly one with The Washington Post.
Earlier this month, Harvey entered an order prohibiting Baker from discussing a wide variety of information about the cases against the Walkers. Harvey's new order is similar to the original except that it applies to lawyers and other agents for both defendants as well as the government.
It prohibits them from making statements about such things as the possibility of a guilty plea, the existence or contents of any confession or statement that John or Michael Walker may have given authorities, and any opinion about the guilt or innocence of the defendants.