March 9, 2020 / 3:51 PM / 25 days ago

Jury deadlocks on main counts against ex-CIA coder accused of leaking classified data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York jury on Monday found a former CIA employee accused of giving classified data to WikiLeaks guilty of making false statements to investigators and contempt of court, but failed to reach a verdict on the central accusations in the case, a significant setback for federal prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan ordered a mistrial on the remaining eight charges against Joshua Schulte, which include theft of government property and illegal transmission of defense information. He dismissed the jurors, who had said in a note that they were “extremely deadlocked.”

Prosecutors may try Schulte again on the charges on which the jury was deadlocked.

Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer for Schulte, declined to comment on the verdict. A spokesman for the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan, which prosecuted the case, also declined to comment.

Schulte, 31, was arrested in 2017 on child pornography charges, which remain pending. Prosecutors unveiled new charges in 2018 accusing him of giving classified information to WikiLeaks.

Prosecutors said Schulte was behind WikiLeaks’ publication in March 2017 of a trove of hacking tools developed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which WikiLeaks called “Vault 7.”

They argued during the trial, which featured testimony that Schulte was motivated by personal grievance, that the leak did serious damage to the CIA’s operations.

Shroff argued that the prosecutors had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Schulte was the person behind the leak.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Tom Brown

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