Sources: US may drop classified leak case involving Israel lobbyists

By
May 1, 2009 17:52

The US Justice Department is considering dropping its case against two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of illegally disclosing national defense secrets, government officials said Tuesday. Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified documents and sharing them with reporters and former diplomats. Like other cases centered on espionage and classified information, a critical issue in pretrial hearings has been how much of the government's case must be aired in open court. Trial has been postponed at least nine times as the defense and prosecutors wrangled over the handling of classified information and other issues. The defendants won an appeals court victory on that front in February when a three-judge panel ruled that some classified evidence could be presented at trial. Two government officials said Tuesday the Justice Department has been weighing whether to go forward with the much-delayed case. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of internal discussions. Some involved in the case are urging officials to let it continue to trial, the officials said. Rosen's attorney, Abbe Lowell, would not comment.


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