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Ex-Lab Scientist May Reverse Plea in Nuclear-Secrets Case

Former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist Leonardo Mascheroni

Former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist Leonardo Mascheroni // Heather Clark/AP

A onetime Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist may attempt to reverse his guilty plea on sharing secret nuclear-weapons information, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Physicist Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, are accused of supplying an undercover federal agent posing as a Venezuelan operative with classified weapons information. The Mascheronis pleaded guilty in June to the federal charges against them.

However, the former lab scientist could withdraw his plea, according to a Nov. 27 court filing by his government-appointed attorney. Mascheroni is trying to secure a new public defender.

Mascheroni is back in prison after federal District Judge William Johnson in a Nov. 13 order canceled the 77-year-old's conditions for release, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Johnson was concerned that Mascheroni could still have access to classified information while he was out on pre-trial release.

Mascheroni reportedly included some classified information in a letter that he wrote to Johnson as part of his attempt to obtain a new public defender. The judge said the 35-page letter might have been written on an unsecured computer.

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