A federal judge Thursday dismissed all charges against a Chinese-American woman accused of using a sexual affair with an FBI agent to gain unauthorized access to classified documents.
U.S. District Judge Florence Marie Cooper dismissed the case for prosecutorial misconduct, finding that the government had purposely made sure that Katrina Leung, a socialite with extensive China contacts, would not have access to her former lover, James J. Smith, for information regarding her case.
Smith, a former FBI agent, has pleaded guilty to a single count of making a false statement about the affair and agreed to cooperate with the government. He had been accused of mishandling classified material and allowing it to fall into Leung’s hands.
Leung, of the Los Angeles suburb of San Marino, allegedly took the documents from his briefcase. She was not accused of transmitting them to China.
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, had no immediate comment on the court’s decision, which the government can appeal.
Leung would have faced up to 14 years in prison had she been convicted of illegally copying and possessing national security papers that she intended to use, or could have used, to harm the interests of the United States.
“The government decided to make sure that Leung and her lawyers would not have access to Smith,” the judge said in her decision. “When confronted with what they had done, they engaged in a pattern of stonewalling entirely unbecoming to a prosecuting agency.”
“The courts have again made sure that truth and justice are not mere platitudes,” Leung’s lawyers, Janet Levine and John Vandevelde, said in a statement.
“She’s gratified and excited about moving on with her life,” Levine said of Leung. “She’s reminded again about why this is such a great country.”