Government prosecutors in USA v. Myers – involving an American couple accused of spying for the Cuban government -- requested without opposition to freeze a retirement account owned by the defendants, 72-year-old Walter Kendall Myers and 71-year-old Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers.
The request on Wednesday comes after defense attorneys tried to gain the Myerses' release from detention at Washington's Correctional Treatment Facility, a medium security 1,200-person lockup next to the District of Columbia jail that houses women, jail overflows, a medical infirmary and other inmates in special programs.
Defense attorneys have suggested home confinement where the couple could see their four children, proposing that their clients only be allowed to leave for meetings related to the case, and that they post as bond their Northwest Washington apartment, their boat and $250,000 to discourage flight. Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola agreed with prosecutors that the Myerses should stay in jail because they were a flight risk, and U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton did not overturn that ruling today.
Judge Walton is unlikely to release the Myerses from detention at least until another status hearing set for the end of July.
The Myerses have been charged with three decades of spying for Cuba. Authorities say the Myerses delivered government secrets to Cuban agents over the past 30 years using a shortwave radio, by swapping carts at a grocery store and in at least one face-to-face meeting with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Cuba. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Today the Myerses requested joint-representation by law firm Sidley Austin, LLP although Judge Walton warned it could be against their interest to have joint-representation for several reasons.
Also today, both parties agreed to an extension of 45 days for the trial to begin, with the defendants waiving their rights to a speedy trial. Both sides agreed more time would be needed since the case is so complex and will involve classified material that will take defense attorneys time to review.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.