Spy Says FBI Man Paid for Abortion : Convicted Soviet Woman Testifies on Affair With Agent
A convicted Soviet spy, who allegedly sexually enticed FBI Agent Richard W. Miller into a plot to betray his country in 1984, told a jury Wednesday that another FBI agent paid for an abortion for her in 1983 after an earlier sexual affair.
The testimony by Svetlana Ogorodnikova in a crowded Los Angeles federal courtroom continued to shift the focus of Miller’s retrial for espionage to her alleged romance with FBI counterintelligence agent John Hunt and away from her later involvement with Miller.
In the most lurid testimony of 18 months of court proceedings in the Miller spy case, Ogorodnikova described “frequent” sexual encounters with Hunt in 1982 at her West Hollywood apartment and other locations, while her husband, Nikolai, was at work as a meatpacker.
As Ogorodnikova began her second day on the witness stand, she quickly volunteered that she had been in love with Hunt.
Visits to Her Home
And one of Miller’s defense lawyers, Joel Levine, asked if Hunt had ever visited her at her home.
“All the time,” she replied. “In the daytime, when my husband was working. Sometimes he would have breakfast, sometimes we would have lunch and we would have sex.”
The 54-year-old Hunt, who has testified that he rejected sexual advances from Ogorodnikova, retired from the FBI’s Los Angeles office about two months after the arrest of Miller and the Ogorodnikovs on Oct. 2, 1984. He now lives with his wife in Seattle.
His version of his relationship with Ogorodnikova is that it centered on efforts to recruit her as an FBI informant but that he closed his file on her in late 1982 after deciding that her loyalties could not be determined.
Despite that, Hunt has testified on three occasions that he visited a Hollywood doctor with Ogorodnikova in 1983. He claims that the visit was prompted by a call from Ogorodnikova, who allegedly said she was suffering from a rare and probably fatal blood disease.
But Ogorodnikova, sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to espionage conspiracy in her own trial last June, gave a dramatically different account Wednesday as she detailed her story for the first time.
“Why did you go with Mr. Hunt to the doctor’s office?” Levine asked.
“I was pregnant,” she said.
“Why with Mr. Hunt as opposed to going alone?”
“He was my man,” Ogorodnikova replied.
“Did you have some kind of treatment?”
“No, I had an abortion,” she said.
“Did you ever tell Mr. Hunt you were suffering from some kind of rare blood disease?”
“Blood? What? I told him that I was pregnant,” the witness said.
“When you went to the doctor for the abortion, how did you pay for it?”
“Mr. Hunt paid,” she said.
‘I Love This Man’
According to Ogorodnikova, who contradicted virtually all of Hunt’s previous testimony as a witness for the prosecution, Hunt at one point convinced her that he planned to divorce his wife and marry Ogorodnikova.
“I love this man,” she said.
“Did you ever talk about getting married?” Levine asked.
“Yes,” she said. “He decided to quit his job and get married.”
Ogorodnikova confirmed Hunt’s testimony on one point--that Hunt told her in late 1982 that she would “no longer be needed” by the FBI. She said the alleged relationship had cooled by that time because both she and Hunt had problems.
“He said his wife was feeling that he had another woman, that every time he came home his shirts were impregnated with my perfume and my lipstick,” she said. “He told her he was working on me. I said, ‘Why do you lie? Why don’t you tell her the truth?’
“My husband also felt that I had somebody else,” Ogorodnikova continued. “I was coming home at 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning. I was lying to my husband, and Hunt taught me how to do it. I could hardly look into the eyes of my husband and my son.”
Ogorodnikova’s testimony specifically disputed one account by Hunt of a meeting on June 6, 1982. In his version, she unexpectedly threw her arms around him on a Hollywood sidewalk, announced that she loved him, and suggested that they “go somewhere.”
She said Hunt had pestered her that day to meet with him, even though she was planning to attend a graduation party from a “cardiology college,” where she had learned to be a cardiac technician.
Although she first rejected the idea of meeting with Hunt, Ogorodnikova said she reluctantly gave in to his urgings and ended up sitting in his car “kissing” him.
“I could not believe it myself,” she said. “I lived with my husband a long time, maybe 15 years. I don’t know what happened. My husband is a beautiful father, a beautiful man, and I am very sorry that all this happened. If I had known what would happen, I would never have gone to that meeting.”
Levine asked Ogorodnikova if she ever found a job using her skills as a medical technician. Answering in Russian through a court interpreter, Ogorodnikova said: “I tried to find a job, but I didn’t have enough time,” she said. “All my time was for Mr. Hunt.”