A federal judge yesterday denied a motion by convicted spy Jonathan J. Pollard to withdraw his 1986 guilty plea to selling a wide range of defense secrets to Israel.
U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. also rejected allegations by Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz that federal prosecutors improperly supplied the judge with information that influenced his decision to impose a life sentence on the former civilian Navy intelligence analyst.
According to court papers unsealed yesterday by Robinson, Dershowitz based his allegation on a conversation he said he had last fall with former Supreme Court justice Arthur Goldberg, who died Jan. 19 at age 81.
Dershowitz said in an affidavit that Goldberg told him of a conversation with Robinson in which the judge explained why he gave Pollard a life sentence.
Goldberg quoted Robinson as saying that information from prosecutors that Pollard had sold Israel U.S. spy satellite photos of tests of Israeli-made missiles in South Africa "weighed heavily" in the decision to impose a life sentence, according to the affidavit.
In his opinion, Robinson denied receiving the information, rejected a defense request that he retire from the case and added that the claim of improper contact by prosecutors "is based upon pure hearsay, twice over."