Justice for the Principal Agent

Jerry Whitworth's espionage earns a 365-year sentence

"Were the death penalty applicable," said U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello in a memorandum to San Francisco federal district court, "the Government would undoubtedly be seeking the death penalty in this case." Since federal law does not provide capital punishment for peacetime espionage, Judge John Vukasin chose the closest thing: he sentenced Jerry Whitworth, a member of the Walker family espionage ring, to 365 years in prison. Whitworth will not be eligible for parole for 60 years, when he would be 107. "Jerry Whitworth," said Vukasin, "is a zero at the bone," a man who had betrayed his country for money because...

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