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Judge refuses to free ex-Green Beret accused of espionage

A federal magistrate judge agreed with prosecutors that 45-year-old Peter Debbins poses a risk to flee if he is released from custody before trial.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal magistrate judge in Virginia has refused to free a former Army Green Beret who was arrested last week on a charge that he divulged U.S. military secrets to Russian intelligence agents. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson agreed Thursday with federal prosecutors that 45-year-old Peter Debbins poses a risk to flee if he is released from custody before trial.

Anderson said Justice Department prosecutor Thomas Traxler adequately explained why more than a year elapsed between the start of the investigation and Debbins' arrest last Friday. 

Traxler says investigators had to corroborate details of a confession that he said Debbins gave when FBI agents questioned him last year.

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