Accused spy Arthur James Walker was found guilty today of espionage on all seven counts with which he was charged.
Walker, 50, a retired Navy lieutenant commander and the first of four Navy men in a purported spy ring charged with passing defense secrets to the Soviet Union to stand trial, faces a maximum sentence of three life terms plus 40 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
A meek-looking man dressed in a plaid sports jacket, Walker stood with his hands by his side and nodded as U.S. District Court Judge J. Calvitt Clarke Jr. rendered the verdict. He ruled in less than 15 minutes after prosecutors completed closing arguments.
Clarke, who set sentencing for Oct. 15, tried the case without a jury at Walker's request.
The most damaging evidence in the trial came from Walker himself, who had admitted to FBI agents and a federal grand jury in Baltimore that he had given classified documents from the Chesapeake, Va., defense contractor where he worked to his younger brother, retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Anthony Walker Jr., 48.
Without those statements, prosecutor Tommy E. Miller conceded in closing arguments, Arthur Walker might never have been charged.
His lawyers said after the verdict that Walker was willing to testify against his brother, the alleged mastermind of the spy ring, whose trial is set for Oct. 28 in Baltimore.
"He has nothing to hide at this point," said J. Brian Donnelly, one of Arthur Walker's defense lawyers. However, he said, "Strangely enough, he doesn't" blame John Walker for his plight. "I think he blames himself."
John Walker's son, Navy Seaman Michael Lance Walker, 22, and his Navy buddy, retired Senior Chief Radioman Jerry Alfred Whitworth, 45, have also been charged with espionage.
Arthur Walker was found guilty of conspiring with his brother to commit espionage, and two counts each of unauthorized possession, copying and passing of defense secrets to the Soviets.
Walker admitted receiving $12,000 from his brother in exchange for the information, which included a training manual on repairing damage to a Navy ship and a report on equipment failures aboard amphibious vessels.
Both documents were labeled "confidential," the lowest category of classified information.
In closing arguments, defense lawyers painted Arthur Walker, a Little League coach and father of three, as the reluctant and naive tool of his younger brother.
Walker, they said, was an unsophisticated man who volunteered information to the FBI and the grand jury in the false hope of receiving lenient treatment, and who, when a prosecution witness was unable to identify him without his toupee, waved in greeting to the man.
"This is a spy?" asked defense lawyer Samuel Meekins, turning to point at his blushing client.
Walker, he said, gave the classified documents to his brother in the hope of convincing John Walker that he had no access to valuable information.
"There is really no reason to believe that Arthur Walker intended to injure the United States and no reason to believe that he did," Meekins said. "He was trying to back-pedal and gave away what he hoped would convince his brother to leave him alone."
But prosecutor Robert Seidel said Walker was "not a naive jester in his brother's espionage conspiracy . . . duped or misled into spying."
Instead, he charged, Walker was an antisubmarine warfare expert who "voluntarily becomes a playmate with his brother in committing espionage against the United States.
"He puts a gas grill in his back yard, new brakes on his car, a toupee on his head, and uses the rest, as he said, for happy hour money," Seidel added. "For $12,000, he sells out the safety and security . . . not just of the Navy, but of every citizen of the United States of America."
The prosecution presented 35 witnesses in four days of testimony. The defense chose to rest without calling any witnesses, or even Arthur Walker himself. "I think Arthur's said enough," Donnelly explained of his client's decision not to testify.
When FBI agents arrived at Arthur Walker's Virginia Beach home to interview him May 20, hours after his brother's arrest in a Ramada Inn in Rockville, Arthur Walker initially denied any knowledge of John Walker's alleged espionage activities or involvement in them, according to FBI records introduced at the trial.
But in a series of later interviews Arthur Walker described how his involvement in espionage started during a January 1980 conversation outside Charlie's Waffle House in Virginia Beach.
Arthur Walker told the FBI he was "down in the dumps" about the failure of a radio repair business he and John Walker had owned, when his brother suggested a way out of his debts.
"I have friends who will pay for classified information," Arthur Walker recalled his brother saying.
"Now I know where you get your bucks," Arthur Walker said he replied.
He said John Walker, who referred to his "friends" as the "Russians," suggested that he find a job where he would have "access to classified information."
When he obtained his job as an engineer at VSE Corp., Arthur Walker said, "Now the prodding started to get him John Walker stuff." He described two $6,000 payments from John Walker, of which he returned half to repay their business debts.
John Walker, he said, wanted a "Godfather-type of family," where there was loyalty and a "closed-mouth attitude." Arthur Walker told the FBI he "knew what was going to happen," when Michael Walker enlisted.
He said John Walker had encouraged his then-wife, Barbara Walker, who later turned him in to the FBI, to sleep with people for money when a bar they owned was failing. John Walker, he said, described strapping "a money belt on" their aged mother to help smuggle proceeds of his espionage activities back into the country from Europe.
Later, appearing without subpoena before a federal grand jury in Baltimore considering charges against John and Michael Walker, Arthur Walker said he starting spying because "the money was there and we were facing such financial difficulty. I don't want to blame it on family, but he was my brother, and there it was . . . .
"My real feeling was that if I could prove to him that I didn't have anything worthwhile, which he stated to me later was the case, that I would not have to do any more, and I could just shove it aside."
In a strange reversal of roles, that grand jury testimony was read at the trial by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Schatzow, who questioned Arthur Walker before the grand jury and is prosecuting the case against John and Michael Walker.
Defense lawyers argued that the documents Arthur Walker provided gave little information of value to the Soviets, if in fact they ever received it.
But Navy intelligence expert Capt. Edward D. Sheafter called one document a training manual on repairing damage aboard the USS Blue Ridge, "a Bible for sabotage" because it "identifies specific points of vulnerability on the ship."
He said he would "give my eyeteeth to have" the Soviet version of the other document, an extract of casualty reports for the Navy's five amphibious helicopter assault ships.
Much of the four days of testimony provided a preview of the government's case against John Walker, focusing on the FBI surveillance leading to his arrest and the complicated methods he allegedly used to make "drops" for his Soviet "handler," Vice Consul Aleksey Gavrilovich Tkachenko.
Defense lawyers said after the verdict that they would have been willing to strike a plea bargain with prosecutors, but that high-level Justice Department officials had vetoed any such plans.
Donnelly said, "They insisted on trying this case for the very reason you people are here right now -- to make a public display of the whole thing."
In another development here, John Walker's private detective license has been revoked, but that decision had nothing to do with charges that he led a family spy ring, a Virginia official said.
The state Department of Commerce revoked the license Wednesday, said Bernard L. Henderson Jr., director of the department. Walker had signed an order Aug. 2 consenting to the revocation. The revocation means that Walker, even if acquitted of federal espionage charges, may not work as a private detective in Virginia again, he said.
John Walker is in jail awaiting trial Oct. 28 in Baltimore on charges that he led a spy ring for the Soviet Union. The Internal Revenue Service has put a lien on his property, saying he owes $250,000 in back taxes.