Richard William Miller, the only FBI agent ever accused of spying, was found guilty today on six counts of espionage and bribery.
Miller was arrested and charged with spying in October 1984 along with his lover, Svetlana Ogorodnikova, and her husband, Nikolai. The Ogorodnikovs pleaded guilty a year ago to charges that they had conspired with the former agent to commit espionage and are serving prison terms.
Miller, 49, sat impassively as the clerk read the verdicts to a standing-room-only crowd of about 200.
The jury decided the 20-year FBI veteran was guilty of conspiring to pass classified documents to the Soviet Union; copying classified documents and delivering them to a foreign government with the knowledge that they would be used to the advantage of the Soviet Union and the disadvantage of the United States; communicating the papers to a representative of the Soviet Union, and soliciting $50,000 in gold and $15,000 in cash.
The jury deadlocked on a seventh count, which charged Miller with accepting a Burberry trench coat from Ogorodnikova. That charge was dropped.
As he left the courtroom in handcuffs, Miller said, "Let's say, thank God for the appeals process." Miller's first trial ended in a mistrial.
Miller attorney Joel Levine said he and cocounsel Stanley Greenberg "have looked forward to the appeals process ever since the commencement of the first trial."
The two lawyers have taken issue with many of the rulings handed down by U.S. District Court Judge David V. Kenyon, who also presided in the first trial.
U.S. Attorney Robert C. Bonner said the defense attorney's comments were "sour grapes."
Levine and Greenberg consistently presented Miller as a bumbling agent who was trying to rejuvenate his failing career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation by using Ogorodnikova to infiltrate the Soviet intelligence service.
Last November, that defense resulted in a mistrial, with two jurors expressing sympathy for Miller. Greenberg and Levine used the same defense in this trial, with one difference: They called Svetlana Ogorodnikova to the stand.
She caused a mini-melodrama in the courtroom when she retracted her guilty plea and insisted: "Richard is not a traitor . . . . I am not a Russian spy . . . . We are not guilty of this crime."
Juror Dale Lowery, an audio production consultant, told reporters today he was "surprised to see Svetlana in the courtroom at all. As it turned out, I could not much credit about 98 percent of what she said. She was so often contradicting what we knew from hard evidence."
Miller told FBI interrogators, and testified at the Ogorodnikov trial, that the Soviet woman had offered him money to work for the KGB. Asked about this by a prosecutor at Miller's trial, Ogorodnikova replied, "Miller knew I was working for the FBI, so how could I ask him to work for the KGB?"
Miller has been held at the federal prison at Terminal Island since his arrest. He will remain there until his July 14 sentencing. Two of the counts of which he was found guilty carry life terms. Staff writer Jay Mathews contributed to this report.