Attorneys for both sides in the espionage trial of Richard W. Miller likened the former FBI agent to a baseball player in closing arguments today.
Miller is accused of conspiring to commit espionage with admitted Soviet agents Svetlana and Nikolai Ogorodnikov and of passing classified documents. He has acknowledged numerous meetings and a sexual relationship with Svetlana Ogorodnikova, and his attorneys said he was trying to infiltrate a Soviet spy ring.
Attorney Joel Levine said Miller was like a ballplayer who spent his career on the bench until the manager sends him to bat with orders to bunt and sacrifice himself.
"But he wants," Levine said, "to hit a home run . . . the ball goes soaring to the outer reaches of the stadium . . . is it fair or foul? The umpires don't see where it landed . . . and call it foul."
U.S. attorney Robert C. Bonner countered, " . . . Mr. Miller was never asked to take a turn at bat. He was asked to stay on the bench."
Bonner called Miller's assertion that he was trying to act as a double agent without his superiors' knowledge "one of the most preposterous defenses . . . put forward to a jury . . . he disgraced and dishonored himself . . . . "
Jury deliberations are to begin Friday.