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Woman, 98, wants spying case crime record cleared


NEW YORK (AP) - A 98-year-old New Jersey woman convicted of conspiracy in the run-up to the atomic spy trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg asked a court Tuesday to clear her name, saying documents released in the last decade show the government withheld evidence that would have exonerated her.

Miriam Moskowitz brought the legal action in Manhattan federal court seeking to vacate her 1950 conviction on charges she conspired with two men to lie to a grand jury investigating allegations of atomic espionage. She was sentenced to two years in prison.

In court papers, Moskowitz said she was working on a book about her case in 2010 when she spotted conflicts between the trial testimony of a former colleague who testified against her and statements he made to the FBI that were read to the grand jury. She said she learned in March that she could ask the court to vacate her conviction.

"The effects of my conviction have had, and continue to have, profound effects on my life," the of Washington Township, New Jersey woman said. "For decades after my incarceration, I felt I had to avoid attention and keep a low social profile with new friends, and experienced shame in certain interactions within the community."

Moskowitz noted, for example, that the rabbi at her synagogue once gave a damning sermon about atomic espionage on the eve of Yom Kippur, and shunned her when she approached him after the service.

"The entire course of my life has been affected by my felony conviction," she said. "I never married or had children, in part because, for decades after my conviction, I found it painful to reveal my past. After my release from prison, FBI agents repeatedly harassed me at my workplace, making it impossible for me to keep a job."

In court papers, Moskowitz's lawyers say 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. The lawyers say FBI and grand jury statements made by Harry Gold - the key government witness against her - were withheld from the defense.

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.

In 1947, Abraham Brothman and his associate, Gold, were questioned by the FBI about allegations they were involved in atomic espionage, the court papers said. Moskowitz then worked as Brothman's secretary and was having an affair with him, the papers said.

Moskowitz's lawyers say Gold repeatedly told the FBI that Moskowitz was unaware of Gold and Brothman's plan to lie before the grand jury until the government threatened him with the death penalty. They say he then cooperated and testified against Moskowitz at trial, saying she was there when they discussed their perjury plans.

The papers also say the jury would have been undeniably affected by Cold War anti-Communist biases.

A spokesman for government lawyers did not immediately comment.

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schiabo August 12 2014 at 5:16 PM

This makes me so angry. How dare the government lie and cheat and suborn perjury .As officers of the court ,the prosecuting attorney's broke the law by knowingly withholding exculpatory evidence.

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2 replies
macsportsvt schiabo August 13 2014 at 10:43 AM

No ... reserve your outrage for something more real.

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debij schiabo August 28 2014 at 10:01 PM

macsportsvt: you seem so sure that she's guilty of everything. I suppose YOU were there so you'd know, right?

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Mike August 12 2014 at 5:07 PM

Let it go.

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3 replies
phd August 12 2014 at 5:30 PM

More revisonist history by a particpant in one of the 20th century's crime, the passage of nuclear secrets to the Soviets. No amount of whitewash will cover up that stain. Gotta love the snarky comment about "Cold War anti communist bias..." No bias, just recognition of the threat the Russians posed and the effort they exerted to steal US nuclear secrets.

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1 reply
Candice phd August 29 2014 at 12:59 PM

How do you know she participated in anything were you there? I doubt it, you are just another know it all, who really knows nothing.

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quincy_maxwell August 12 2014 at 5:23 PM

I'm not surprised. Our "free" government is free to do whatever the hell they want. No matter who's life it ruins. They do not care, as long as they get their conviction.

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1 reply
nf1stinks quincy_maxwell August 28 2014 at 11:45 PM

utohhh.... the NSA will be looking at you now quincy_maxwell@aol.com

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unknown_individual August 12 2014 at 6:35 PM

Take her out and execute her. If it wasn't for her and her kind, we wouldn't be kissing Israel's butt today. The reason we do is because, we know these are unstable people capable of totally irrational thinking. Just look at the damage they have done in Gaza. Who do you think, other than the American taxpayer, is going to rebuild what Israel made into a wasteland?

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3 replies
crowland503 August 12 2014 at 6:00 PM

The execution of the Rosenbergs brought about due to the communist hysteria of the era. I doubt very seriously if the Rosenbergs would face the death penalty today. Like then like now, the Government goes out of its way, as fully demonstrated by the POTUS, to break the laws, twist the truth, and cover-up the scandals.

Your assignment, Students, is to write a 1,000 word essay about what this country would look like under the USSR.

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3 replies
skatulaki3 August 12 2014 at 8:50 PM

The Jews are determined to hunt down even the most meaningless soldiers who loaded them on trains or guarded some artillery battery 20 miles away from the camps even though they are 99 years old. She should be treated the same way. she was a spy !

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debij August 28 2014 at 10:10 PM

I think she ought to at least have a hearing about it.

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VIPRLARES August 29 2014 at 1:22 PM


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tcroof August 29 2014 at 10:45 AM

she should sue those sorry bastard and then "HELP SAVE AMERICA HANG A POLITICIAN"

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