US woman seeks to erase spying conviction

2014-08-26 11:37
Miriam Moskowitz leaves federal court in New York after trying to clear her name after she was convicted in 1950 of conspiracy. (Lawrence Neumeister, AP)

Miriam Moskowitz leaves federal court in New York after trying to clear her name after she was convicted in 1950 of conspiracy. (Lawrence Neumeister, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A 98-year-old woman convicted on a conspiracy charge in the run-up to the atomic spying trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg found a much different atmosphere in court on Monday than she encountered when she was convicted in 1950.

"Then it was electrifying. It is very sober today", Miriam Moskowitz said after a brief initial court hearing to determine how to proceed in a case she brought to erase her conviction.

Clutching a cane, Moskowitz said the passing decades and even a book she wrote hoping to "miraculously ignite a fire" to clear her name did not ease her pain.

"I think I need an official vindication", she told reporters.

Moskowitz, of Washington Township, New Jersey, was sentenced to two years in prison after her conviction on charges she conspired with two men to lie to a grand jury investigating allegations of atomic espionage.

In court papers, Moskowitz's lawyers said they learned that the government withheld critical evidence for nearly 60 years when a federal judge in 2008 ordered the release of key secret grand jury testimony in the Rosenberg spy trial.

US District Judge Alvin K Hellerstein instructed lawyers to ensure Moskowitz was able to participate in the case despite her hearing difficulties. He urged a speedy resolution.

"It's not a usual case and I think we need to address issues in a concerted fashion", he said.

A prosecutor said it was premature for the government to say whether it intends to oppose Moskowitz's request, but he added that it appeared the case could be decided based on transcripts from decades ago rather than the testimony of witnesses.

Moskowitz's lawyers say FBI and grand jury statements made by Harry Gold, the key government witness against her were withheld from the defence.

They say the papers show that Gold repeatedly told the FBI that Moskowitz was unaware of the plans of others to lie before the grand jury until the government threatened him with the death penalty.

The Rosenbergs were convicted of passing nuclear weapons secrets to the Soviet Union and were executed in 1953. Since then, decoded Soviet cables have appeared to confirm that Julius Rosenberg was a spy, but doubts have remained about Ethel Rosenberg's involvement.

Read more on:    us  |  espionage

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.