Shepherd Snyder Published

Trial Date Set After Judge Rejects Plea Agreement For Submarine Secrets Case

Navy Engineer Nuclear Secrets

A trial date has been set after former Naval engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe, withdrew their guilty pleas in a case last week involving the selling of secrets about American nuclear submarines.

Prosecutors say Jonathan Toebbe used his position and access to top-secret government information to sell documents regarding the design and performance of Virginia-class submarines, while Diana Toebbe acted as a lookout at “dead-drop” locations where memory cards storing the info were left.

The couple withdrew their pleas after Judge Gina M. Groh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Martinsburg rejected both of their previous plea agreements. The defendants pleaded guilty in February after being arrested in October of last year in Jefferson County.

The federal court said it could not accept the plea agreements both because of the nature of the crime and the fact that federal advisory guidelines suggest a sentence higher than what the court could impose.

A release said, “although the court generally honors plea agreements negotiated by the parties, the court found the sentencing options available strikingly deficient in this case.”

The document from the federal court also calls the act a “conspiracy to communicate restricted data” which was done for “selfish and greedy reasons … that could have easily caused harm to the Navy, the United States, and even the world.”

Trial dates for the two defendants have been set as a result. The pretrial hearing will be held Jan. 12, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

The jury trial will be held five days later, on Jan. 17, at 9:00 a.m.