Ex-CIA officer accused of spying for China has memory issues

A former CIA officer accused of spying for China is asking for a mental competency evaluation after telling his attorney he believes he is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and is having trouble remembering things

HONOLULU -- A former CIA officer accused of spying for China is asking for a mental competency evaluation after telling his attorney he believes he is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and is having trouble remembering things.

Ma's court-appointed attorney, Birney Bervar, said Thursday that he felt compelled to file a motion for a mental competency evaluation after meeting with Ma a couple of weeks ago.

“Ma said he just can't remember things and that he believes it impairs his ability to assist properly in his defense,” the motion said.

Bervar's motion also noted that Ma's older brother developed Alzheimer's 10 years ago and is now completely disabled by the disease. The brother is referred to as a co-conspirator in the indictment against Ma, but prosecutors didn't charge him because of his incompetency due to Alzheimer's, the motion said.

A magistrate judge scheduled a hearing for Aug. 12 on the motion.

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