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Judge Relaxes Conditions for Alleged CIA Leaker

(CN) - The ex-CIA officer accused of leaking classified information to a New York Times reporter will have a bit more freedom as he awaits a trial on those charges, which has been delayed by the government's recent appeal, a federal judge ruled.

Jeffry Sterling moved last week to amend the conditions of his release from jail pending trial, and U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema granted both of his requests for relief.

Though the government originally opposed Sterling's release and asked for him to be detained pending trial, Brinkema disagreed and released Sterling in January 2011 with certain stipulations.

Three days before trial was scheduled to begin in October 2011, however, the government filed an appeal to revive two witnesses that the judge had barred.

Claiming that this move will substantially delay his case and is no fault of his own, Sterling said Brinkema should relax the January release order.

As part of his release conditions, Sterling has been required to take monthly and random drug tests. Sterling's motion to amend those conditions notes that he has "no history of drug abuse and has tested clean each and every time he has been tested."

Kimberly Hess, who is supervising Sterling's release, agreed that Sterling does not require drug testing, according to the filing.

Sterling has also been required to inform potential employers that he is under indictment for espionage, a disclosure that "is making it difficult if not impossible for Mr. Sterling to find employment," the motion states.

Sterling said his lack of employment is stressful and imposes financial hardship upon his family. "In the absence of some relief in this regard, Mr. Sterling has no reasonable opportunity for employment for an extended period of time," he said.

According to the motion, "Ms. Hess is comfortable with Mr. Sterling making complete disclosures to prospective employers at his direction instead of automatically."

Brinkema released Sterling from drug testing on Dec. 8 and ordered Sterling to tell Hess the names of all potential employers so that she may "instruct Mr. Sterling as to what disclosures are required."

"Mr. Sterling shall comply with those instructions in all respects," the judge concluded.

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