MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – A Maryland couple is accused of trying to sell some of the biggest American submarine secrets revealed for the first time in court since their arrest over the weekend.
The pair, Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, were accused of selling nuclear secrets to an FBI agent secretly through dead drops containing memory cards hidden in peanut butter sandwiches, gum package and Band-Aid wrappers.
Although they appeared in court on Tuesday, each charged with personal offenses and negotiated data and conspiracy to cut data, offenses could lead to life in prison. None of them were asked to join the petition during their brief first appearance.
The trial in Martinsburg, W.Va., by Jonathan Toebbe ended in five minutes. After reviewing the affidavit from Mr. Toebbe writing his money, the trial judge, Robert W. Trumble, said Mr. Toebbe deserves a lawyer-appointed court and ruled on two cases: one on Friday of their first detention trial and the first hearing of the case next Wednesday.
Mr. Toebbe, wearing a protective cover from the Covid-19, sat in an orange cell with a black suit and chains tied around his arms and ankles. The former captain of the ship, with his cut hair cut off, responded to the judge with a clear, unwavering voice.
Mrs. Toebbe, with short white hair and blue surgical hair, was also protected in chains and wearing an orange jersey. She was brought within minutes after her husband left court. The two could not see each other, not even through the courtroom.
He also obtained permission from a court-appointed attorney. The court arranged for him to be given the same custody and for the first few days to hear him.
As he did with Mr. Toebbe, Judge Trumble told Ms. Toebbe that he would have the opportunity to speak with a lawyer before the next hearing on Friday.
Prosecutors declined to comment on the case or the sanctions they may seek.
The Justice Department sought a continuous detention of all Jonathan Toebbe, a nuclear navigation expert who after leaving the military worked in the U.S. The Navy as a soldier, with his wife, historian and English teacher, saying they were in danger of flying because they were facing life sentences if caught guilty.
The first intelligence drop that the FBI first reported to Toebbes took place in West Virginia, which is why the government brought charges there.
The case sent waves of confusion through Annapolis, Md., Where the couple lived with their two school-age children, and an independent school where Mrs. Toebbe worked.
Jonathan Toebbe’s friends struggled to find a dedicated father and an organized scientist they know with a picture brought to the courts of weak amateur spy.
Ms. Toebbe was an instructor and mentor of the year with dedicated followers among students and alumni who admired her feminine nature and progressive views.
Kitty Bennett gave research.