Prosecutors disclosed additional details of their case against accused spy Jerry Alfred Whitworth in papers filed yesterday in San Francisco federal court, and a federal judge postponed Whitworth's trial for two months to give defense lawyers more time to prepare.
U.S. District Judge John P. Vukasin Jr. set a new trial date of Jan. 13 for Whitworth, a retired Navy communications expert accused of passing military secrets to John Anthony Walker Jr., his Navy buddy and the alleged mastermind of the espionage ring. His trial had been scheduled for Nov. 12.
Walker, whose son also has been accused of spying and whose brother was convicted of espionage in August, is set to stand trial in Baltimore on Monday.
In response to a new indictment issued earlier this month by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, Whitworth again entered a plea of not guilty yesterday to charges of helping Walker spy for the Soviet Union.
The latest indictment charges Whitworth with 12 counts of espionage, conspiracy and tax fraud.
Whitworth is accused of receiving $332,000 for passing the information, which allegedly included details about U.S. contingency plans in the event of violence in the Middle East and a sensitive new Navy communications system.
Defense attorney James Larson asked for the postponement because he has not yet gotten security clearance from the FBI to enable him to see classified documents involved in the case.
In papers filed yesterday in response to an order from Vukasin to provide further details about their case, prosecutors said Whitworth passed to the Soviets information about the installation of the Navy's communications system, the Remote Information Exchange Terminal, at the Naval Telecommunications Center in Alameda, Calif.
The material included disclosures of the particular "key lists" or "keying material" used in decoding classified material, the government said.
In addition, according to the document filed yesterday, Whitworth gave Walker classified information from the USS Enterprise, "including intelligence and operations messages . . . papers relating to operations in the sea of Japan and Indian Ocean, and papers relating to a challenge to claimed Vietnamese territorial waters and to an alleged intrusion into USSR territory" by Navy fighter planes. The document said the information was exchanged in San Leandro, Calif., in June 1983.
In detailing its charge that Whitworth knowingly filed false tax returns from 1979 through 1982, the government said he failed to report $218,000 in payments he had received from Walker in those years.
Prosecutors also disclosed 50 cashier's checks, totaling $57,506.94, purhased by Whitworth from 1977 through 1984. The government charges that Whitworth bought the checks with cash and used them to pay bills and for other purposes to make it difficult for the government to trace the alleged payments from Walker.