Maryland couple plead guilty to selling nuclear submarine secrets

The previous sentencing range called for 12 to 17 years in prison for Jonathan Toebbe and three years behind bars for Diana Toebbe.

Updated: September 28, 2022 - 1:35pm

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A U.S. Navy engineer and his wife have again pleaded guilty to selling nuclear submarine secrets, after a judge said the initial requested sentences were too lenient. 

Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, of Annapolis, Maryland, each pleaded guilt Tuesday in a federal court in West Virginia to one felony charge of conspiracy to communicate restricted data, the Associated Press reports.

The plea agreement entered before Magistrate Judge Robert Trumble could result in each receiving a maximum life sentence and $100,000 fine. However, prosecutors are asking for Diana Toebbe to receive a sentence at the lower end of the guide range.

The couple pleaded not guilty in October 2021 but later pleaded guilty in February 2022.

Prosecutors said Jonathan Toebbe sold details about nuclear submarines to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign government representative.

Officials accused his wife, who was working as a teacher at the time, of acting as a lookout at several "dead-drop" locations where memory cards with classified information were left.

The previous sentencing range called for 12 to 17 years in prison for Jonathan Toebbe and three years behind bars for Diana Toebbe.

District Judge Gina Groh rejected the couple's initial guilty pleas last month and said the sentencing options were "strikingly deficient."