A federal judge ordered prosecutors in the espionage case of retired Navy radioman Jerry Alfred Whitworth today to disclose the names of two secret informants and to provide the defense with transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Whitworth and alleged spy ring leader John Anthony Walker Jr..
U.S. District Judge John P. Vukasin also said the indictment against Whitworth was too vague, and granted the request of defense attorney James Larson for a specific list of the events considered criminal by the government.
"I want the government to provide dates of overt acts, parties present, the information exchanged, where and the nature and amount of payments," he said.
Larson told the judge he thought it would be impossible to prepare his defense before the scheduled Nov. 12 trial date.
In a series of rulings, Vukasin told the government to provide transcripts of conversations between Whitworth and Walker monitored while Walker's Norfolk telephone was tapped between November 1984 and June 1985.
Vukasin also ordered the government to identify two secret informants used in the Walker case. But the judge refused to order disclosure of the identity of a third informant whose statements to the FBI led to the search of Whitworth's Davis, Calif., mobile home in June.
Whitworth, 46, who spent 23 years in the Navy before retiring in 1983, is charged in a 12-count indictment with passing on military secrets to Walker, also a retired Navy man, over an 18-year period for $332,000.
Whitworth has insisted he is innocent and described the espionage case against him as a "giant misunderstanding" by federal agents because of his close friendship with Walker, a relationship he has said had nothing to do with spying.
Whitworth has been jailed at an undisclosed facility in the San Francisco area since his arrest. He is being held under an assumed name in a cell with other federal prisoners.
John Walker's brother, Arthur James Walker, a former employe of a Chesapeake, Va., defense contractor, was convicted in Norfolk of seven counts of espionage in August. John Walker is scheduled to be tried in Baltimore Oct. 28; his son, Michael Lance Walker, a seaman on the USS Nimitz, will be tried in the same city after his father's trial.