The frequent Fox News commentator who prosecutors say lied about a career with the CIA to win actual government work is scheduled to change his plea Thursday, court records show.
Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Md., had been set to go on trial next month on charges that his claim of working for the CIA for 27 years was a lie, and that it was only by repeating such falsehoods that he was able to briefly get actual security clearances and real government contracting work in more recent years. He had pleaded not guilty in the case, and had asserted in an interview published recently in The New York Times Magazine that there were documents scattered around the world that would back up his claims about what he did.
Now, it seems, prosecutors and his defense attorneys appear to have reached some type of a deal. The “change of plea hearing” is generally an indication someone in a case intends to plead guilty — though for Simmons, it remains unclear to what. A judge also must still sign off on a plea agreement, which is far from a certainty.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia, which brought the case against Simmons, declined to comment. William Cummings, Simmons attorney, said: “All I can tell you, if you want to show up, who knows what might happen?” Simmons himself confirmed a plea hearing was scheduled but he declined to comment further.
Simmons’s case had commanded national attention — in-part because of his frequent, unpaid appearances on Fox News, and in-part because of the actual government work he was able to get. By prosecutors’ telling, he was deployed to Afghanistan for some weeks as a senior adviser to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, putting him “in a war zone with access to classified material.” On his Web site, Simmons claimed he was recruited by the CIA to work as part of an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Group” and that he “spearheaded Deep Cover Intel Ops against some of the world’s most dangerous Drug Cartels and arms smugglers from Central and South America and the Middle East.”
Prosecutors alleged, though, that Simmons was a man who was little more than a lifelong criminal with no significant work history or money to his name. Prosecutors said his criminal record includes convictions for 11 DUIs as well as for assault, gambling and having a firearm.
The hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m.