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The Latest: Navy officer accused of espionage strikes deal

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/05/2017

NORFOLK, Va. — The Latest on the case of a Taiwan-born Navy officer accused of espionage: (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

A Taiwan-born Navy officer has admitted to sharing secret U.S. military information with women he befriended.

But Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin did not admit in court on Thursday to spying for Taiwan or China.

Lin struck a plea deal with the U.S. government during his court martial at a Navy base in Norfolk. The agreement means the Navy fell short of a specific espionage conviction. But Lin admitted he thought he was above the law and tried to impress people.

For instance, Lin had top secret security clearance, but he failed to report he had close friends in the Taiwanese military. He lied to superiors about visiting Taiwan. And he shared defense secrets with two women. One worked for a Taiwanese political party. Another was an undercover FBI agent.

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12:50 p.m.

A Taiwan-born Navy officer accused of espionage has struck a plea deal with the U.S. government.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin on Thursday agreed to plead not guilty to a specific charge of espionage involving China or Taiwan. But he is pleading guilty to mishandling classified information, communicating national defense information, failing to report foreign contacts and lying about where he was going to while on leave.

Lin and his attorneys began hashing out the deal Thursday morning in a Navy court in Norfolk. A Navy judge plans to go through the details of Lin's crimes this afternoon.

Court documents did not reveal whom Lin was accused of spying for. But officials told The Associated Press last year that the country involved is China or Taiwan, and possibly both.

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3:05 a.m.

A military trial is set to begin for a Taiwan-born Navy officer accused of passing military secrets to China or Taiwan.

Lt. Cmdr. Stephanie Turo, a Navy spokeswoman, confirmed on Wednesday the espionage trial in Norfolk will begin Thursday.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin is accused of failing to report foreign contacts and passing along secret national defense information. He is being held in a Navy brig in Virginia.

Court documents do not reveal whom Lin is accused of spying for. But officials told The Associated Press last year that the country involved is China or Taiwan, and possibly both.

Civilian defense attorney Larry Younger declined to comment. Lin's sister, Jenny Lin, wrote to members of Congress last year and said the Navy lacks evidence to support the charges.

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