The Case of the CIA Spook or Charity Con Man?

Cody's biography appears to offer hints of past work with the intelligence community – he carries a degree from Harvard Law School and was documented to have done a stint in military intelligence. And when he was ultimately identified by U.S. Marshals, it was in part because he had appeared on an FBI most wanted poster in connection to a decades-old charge of espionage.

The trial will offer Cody the first opportunity to explain how those details from his past tie in to the veterans charity he ran from a Tampa, Florida townhouse under a false name. Patituce said his client has told him the CIA had blessed the charitable operation as a means of raising money to donate to prominent politicians.

"According to my client, they were starting to look into programs and policies that would help strengthen [the] intelligence community," Patituce said.

Patituce said his client was also expecting U.S. intelligence officials to bail him out of trouble after U.S. Marshals tracked him down in Portland, Oregon and brought him back to Cleveland to face the state fraud charges.

"He assumed that's what was going to happen," Patituce said. "That he would be pulled out of this by the people handling him."

That is why, the lawyer said, Cody repeatedly refused to identify himself when he was finally captured – signing his name only as "Mr. X" when he was checked into a Cleveland jail.

Prosecutors are, to say the least, skeptical of Cody's assertions.

"I think there's as much evidence of that as he is a NASA astronaut," Tamarro said.

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