SoCal Engineer Admits He Tried to Spy for Russia

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Saying he was inspired to do it by a TV show, an engineer for a U.S. defense contractor pleaded guilty Monday to selling sensitive satellite information to an undercover FBI agent he believed was a Russian spy.

Gregory Allen Justice, 49, of Culver City, pleaded guilty to federal charges of attempting to commit economic espionage and attempted violation of the Arms Export Control Act, both felonies. In working for the defense contractor, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not identify, Justice had access to information on military and commercial satellite programs.

Justice pleaded guilty to stealing proprietary trade secrets from the defense contractor. In a series of meetings from February to July 2016 he was paid thousands of dollars for the documents, which included details on munitions subject to regulations on the international import and export of arms.

Inspired by the FX show “The Americans,” about a suburban husband and wife who double as Russian spies, Justice talked to the undercover FBI agent about deepening their relationship. At their final meeting, he invited the agent to take a tour a facility where the contractor built military spacecraft, according to his plea agreement.

Justice has been in custody since July 2016 and will be sentenced on Sept. 18. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

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