WASHINGTON - A former U.S. State Department official and his wife, accused of spying for the Cuban government for nearly 30 years, were ordered Wednesday to be kept in jail until their trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola agreed with a Justice Department prosecutor that Walter Kendall Myers, 72, and his wife Gwendolyn Myers, 71, should remain in jail.
Prosecutor Michael Harvey said that if freed, the couple posed a flight risk and could go to Cuba or the Cuban interest section in Washington, D.C., and that the U.S. government would have no authority to retrieve them.
They are plainly a serious flight risk, he said.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to act as illegal agents of the Cuban government and to communicate classified information to Cuba. They have been in jail since their arrest by FBI agents Thursday.
According to court documents, Kendall Myers told an undercover FBI source posing as a Cuban intelligence officer that he had received lots of medals from the Cuban government and that the couple spent an evening with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1995.
But Castro Saturday called the spy charges ridiculous and described the case as an espionage comic strip.
(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria)