The attorney for a U.S. Navy officer accused of espionage is vowing to fight charges that his client and accused spy is innocent of charges he spied for a foreign government and did not lied to investigators, his attorney told Navy Times Friday.
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, who has faced a preliminary hearing, is being held in pretrial confinement while facing multiple counts of espionage, communicating defense information and making false official statements. Lin is innocent of these charges, his attorney said. team intends to fight.
"Following this week's release of the Article 32 preliminary hearing officer's report, we maintain that Lt. Cmdr. Edward 'Eddy' Lin is innocent of espionage, innocent of failing to follow lawful orders, innocent of false official statements and innocent of violating the general article, Article 134, of the Uniform Code of Military Justice," said Larry Youngner, a retired Air Force judge advocate and Lin's civilian attorney, in a statement Friday.
The exclusive statement to Navy Times is the first indication on how Lin's legal team intends to handle the high-profile case, which has raised concerns that foreign spies may have breached one of the U.S. military's most shadowy squadrons.
Investigators believe Lin was spying for Taiwan or the People's Republic of China, or both, according to U.S. officials who asked for anonymity to discuss an ongoing legal case.
Lin was arrested in Hawaii on Sept. 11, 2015, last year and has been in confinement since, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Hawkins. He faced a preliminary hearing April 8 and the presiding officer was required to submit a report and recommendation to Fleet Forces Command head Adm. Phil Davidson by April 22. Davidson , the court martial convening authority, by April 22.
It falls to Davidson to decide whether to take the case to court-martial, refer it to non-judicial punishment or dismiss it altogether. Davidson is reviewing the recommendation but there is no prescribed timeline for him to reach a decision on how to adjudicate the case. He can do anything from convene a general court martial to recommending non-judicial punishment to dismissing the case.
Lin also faces charges of adultery and patronizing prostitutes, according to his charge sheet provided to Navy Times.
Youngner, an attorney with Tully Rinckey, said Davidson should handle the case administratively instead of through court martial.
"While we await the convening authority's decision as to whether to actually proceed to trial, it is our assessment that Lt. Cmdr. Lin's case is best handled administratively 'in a timely manner at the lowest appropriate level' as Rule for Court-Martial 306(b) allows," he said in the statement.
"Should Lt. Cmdr. Lin's case be referred to a court-martial, we request a speedy trial on the merits and look forward to defending Lt. Cmdr. Lin, who has honorably served the United States, to include combat tours, since 1998."
When Lin was arrested last year he was serving in one the Navy's most shadowy organization, a secretive maritime patrol squadron that specializes in signals intelligence.
Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2, based in Kaneohe, Hawaii, flies modified P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
"They have the coolest stuff, as much of it as they need and what they do with it is classified," said one officer familiar with the squadron's duties.
The squadrons have been known to fly planes with high-tech electronic surveillance gear designed to look like standard maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, according to a website dedicated to P-3 Orions and their missions.