Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Cambridge Couple Are Arrested For Federal Crimes Of Espionage

Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr is having a field day on this one. Who can blame him?: The surface-layer ironies here are numerous!

“Hey”, he muses, “they don’t call it the Red Line for nothing.”

The rollicking news that some Cambridge residents have been arrested and accused of being Russian spies should be enough to keep us in stitches with puns focusing on titles like “Reds”, “Ruskies” and ( of course) “The People’s Republic Of Cambridge” for weeks to come.

Anyone out there miss the “good old days” of the 1950’s? Here is your chance to experience yesteryear.

The story treating us to all this hilarity is the arrests of accused Russian agent Donald Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley (hereinafter, collectively, the “Defendants”), among others in other locations not as humorous, for espionage. According to federal authorities their investigation shows that they are a part of a Russian spy ring arrested this past weekend.

It remains in doubt, according to the federal prosecutors, how much useful information from the Defendants or their co-defendants actually reached Moscow. It is clear, however, that the Defendants and their alleged cohorts were in places where valuable information was available.

Yesterday’s revelation was that it is believed that the Defendants had access to high-level scientists and officials, involved in groups pursuing sometimes bizarre “futurist” technology.

This would be the “Lifeboat Foundation”, which is a nonprofit organization that encourages scientific advancements.

“We’re focused on global risks like nuclear war and pandemic disease,” said Mike Anissimov, Lifeboat’s fund-raising director, who said he hasn’t met Heathfield, but added he was “surprised” by the arrest. Lifeboat’s members include prominent artificial intelligence and nanotechnology researcher Ray Kurzweil. The group’s interests include those fields as well as developing an “AlienShield” and “AntimatterShield” to protect the Earth.

Heathfield is also said to belong to the World Future Society, a think tank on future technologies that holds conferences featuring top government scientists.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

It almost sounds like a potential plot for the next futuristic James Bond thriller, as the future comes and the Russians, armed with secrets stolen from the U.S., take control of our computers and the internet, using same to contact beings from other planets with whom they join on attacking the America and Great Britain.

Actually, my point is not to minimize the accusations. They are quite serious and I love our country as much as the next guy. My point is, however, under all the jokes, we might want to remember that one of the things that make this country great is, to the extent that it still exists, the presumption of innocence.

The Defendants and company are facing serious allegations. They are, thus far, convicted of nothing. Under the law, they are innocent unless and until found guilty by a judge or jury.

As I watched the videos of interviews with people reacting to the news, including folks who knew the Defendants, there was one thing that they all had in common. This would be the “realization” that the Defendants were guilty. It was almost a given.

You know, the feds have gotten it wrong before. There are actual acquittals in federal court sometimes. You also do not have to go too far into the past to find accusations of “Commie Spies” which were unfounded.

“But, Sam, you always say that the federal prosecutors take their time and use great resources when preparing their cases and so do not lose all that often.”

Yes, that is true. But that does not mean that they are never wrong. It certainly does not mean that when they make an arrest, any exercise in American Jurisprudence is simply a waste of time.

I don’t know if these folks are factually innocent or guilty. I would surmise that neither do you. So, as in any regular case of drunk driving, embezzlement or assault…let’s try to at least give lip service to the presumption of innocence.

Otherwise, are we not like the cursed…..THEM?

As for the great Howie Carr, I remember him from when he used to substitute on WRKO for the late Jerry Williams.

I miss Jerry.

In the meantime, if you are facing such charges and would like to give defending yourself instead of giving in to the whispers of guilt around you, and you wish to consult with me regarding representing you , please feel free to give me a call at 617-492-3000 .

To view the original stories upon which today’s blog was based, please go to http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20100630spy_suspect_linked_to_futurist_group/srvc=home&position=also and http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1264765

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