Sentencing postponed in CIA case
A federal judge on Monday postponed the sentencing of a former top CIA top operative in Algeria who admitted sexually abusing a woman who had passed out from drinking with him in his government-funded residence.
The case had raised questions about whether the intelligence agency adequately polices its ranks of corruption.
Andrew Warren, 43, pleaded guilty in June to engaging in "abusive sexual contact" with an unnamed victim without her consent while she "was unconscious and unable to defend herself" in Feb. 2008, when he was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Algiers.
Warren also admitted possessing a Glock 9mm pistol while using cocaine at a hotel in Norfolk, Va., where he was arrested in April.
Since 2007, the CIA had struggled with embarrassing revelations in its senior ranks. Its former No. 3 officer, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, was convicted of steering contracts to a friend after investigators also examined whether he pressured agency lawyers to hire a mistress.
Steven Levan, an aide to the CIA's former No. 2 official, Stephen Kappes, was convicted on charges that he ran up $115,000 on CIA credit cards, much of it also spent on a mistress.
In Warren's case, U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of the District set off a heated argument between prosecutors and defense lawyers Monday when she said she might impose a tougher sentence than either side anticipated in a plea agreement because of potentially aggravating factors.
Huvelle also criticized both sides for making statements at odds with what they previously agreed happened in the case.
While the felony sex offense charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, in a June plea deal prosecutors agreed to recommend 27 to 33 months based on federal sentencing guidelines.
Huvelle noted that prosecutors maintain that their evidence showed that Warren drugged and raped two women -- using mild tranquilizers such as Xanax and Valium -- and that sentencing guidelines could be higher for sexual assault against a "vulnerable victim."
She also cited findings of a sealed pre-sentencing investigation, which she is obliged to consider.
The case became public after ABC News reported Warren's ouster from Algiers in early 2009, before he was charged. Federal officials later said Warren kept more than two dozen video recordings of his sexual encounters.
Neighbors subsequently complained that Warren had exposed himself in his Norfolk neighborhood, and Warren lost a motion to suppress the discovery of child pornography allegedly found on his CIA laptop.
William R. "Billy" Martin, a lawyer for Warren, objected that the defendant admitted only to drinking alcohol and abusing one woman by rubbing his penis against her genitals, not raping her. Martin said that Warren also maintained that he was targeted in a "honey trap" set up by adversaries who wanted to oust him from Algeria.
"He did not plead to a second victim," Martin said. "The issue is strictly alcohol."
Prosecutors stood by their claims, saying they accepted the plea agreement in part because the victims wanted to protect their identities.
Huvelle said she was uncomfortable with aspects of the handling of the case.
"There has been a lot of discussion by both sides about facts which don't appear" in the plea agreement, Huvelle said. "I don't feel I have full disclosure by both sides about the sexual offense or misconduct" that occurred.
Huvelle ordered both sides to present additional arguments to address her concerns within 10 days and set sentencing, originally scheduled for Monday, for March 4.
Washington Post Editors
| February 1, 2011; 9:21 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse, Spencer S. Hsu, Updates, Virginia
Save & Share: Previous: Prison phone crackdown working
Next: Md. woman charged in 2010 shooting
Posted by: Jim110 | February 1, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: stallmorce | February 2, 2011 5:31 AM | Report abuse