July 8, 2010— -- The U.S. and Russia have agreed to the first swap of accused spies in 24 years, and the exchange will begin to take place by the end of Thursday, according to U.S. officials and lawyers for the suspects.
All 10 are expected to plead guilty to lesser charges, according to Justice Department officials.
Anna Chapman, the sexy redhead accused Russian spy whose good looks and party-hopping made headlines, will appear in New York court today and then head directly to the airport to fly back to Moscow, her attorney tells ABC News.
Baum says Chapman is "happy to get out of jail" and may move to Britain after being sent home to Russia today. "She used to have a life there," said Baum.
The lawyer said the redhead beauty had a "tough time" in jail over the last eleven days.
Chapman is presently inside the courthouse meeting with her lawyer to go over court proceedings.
Chapman's mother, Irina Kushenko, said her daughter will arrive by noon Friday in Moscow.
Peter Krupp, an attorney for suspect Donald Heathfield, said he expects Heathfield will be on a 7pm flight to Moscow this evening. He would not comment of a Boston Globe report that his children are already in Russia.
All 10 suspects are scheduled to be in court in New York Thursday, but it is not clear if all will be sent to Russia. At least three of the 10 have U.S. citizenship.
As the U.S. and Russian governments scramble to put together a huge spy swap before the 10 accused Russian spies are arraigned this afternoon, the children in the middle are caught in a very real chess game being played out between the two countries.
"That's the most unfortunate aspect of this," said Jeffrey Burds, a professor of Russian history at Northeastern University. "I cannot imagine a scenario in which the children, however smart they were, would have been clued in as to the existence of or the nature of their parents' relations."
Juan Lazaro, the 17-year-old son of spy suspects Vicki Pelaez and Juan Lazaro, is an accomplished classical pianist who lives with his parents in Yonkers, NY. Two of the other spy suspect couples have young children.
Pelaez is believed to be the only one of the 10 accused agents who is not Russian born.
Former CIA Agent Bob Baer
Bob Baer, a former CIA agent, told "Good Morning America" that he believes all of the accused Russian spies will, at the end of the day, go home.
The "worst thing is if some of these Russians refuse to go home, which is possible with some of these children, and ask for political asylum," Baer said.
This case is unique, he said, because there were so many arrests at one time.
"I don't know what happened to Russia," Baer said. "I checked around with my former colleagues that follow Russians and they are just totally surprised. The fact that the FBI for in their communications is extraordinary, or was able to actually meet them and pretend to be Russians. They were completely, totally compromised, and this is going to cause an enormous scandal in Moscow, or it should."
It's been 24 years since the last publicized spy swap between the U.S. and Russia, carried out on a bridge between then East and West Berlin.
"Many of these have been done in secret, but this one has created a lot of publicity and everyone just wants this to go away now," said former CIA Russian analyst Mark Stout.
Alexander Marquardt, Joseph Rhee, Lee Ferran and Matthew Cole contributed to this report.