INDIANAPOLIS – A man accused of trying to sell the names of U.S. operatives and agents to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime for $3 million was convicted Wednesday of six of the seven charges against him.
Shaaban Hafiz Ahmad Ali Shaaban, who blamed his troubles on a twin who relatives testified does not exist, was convicted of charges including acting as an unregistered foreign agent, violating sanctions against Iraq, conspiracy and witness tampering.
Jurors deadlocked over whether he offered to sell U.S. secrets to Saddam's government.
Prosecutors said Shaaban, who is Palestinian, traveled to Baghdad in late 2002, four months before the American invasion, and agreed to sell U.S. intelligence secrets. No evidence was presented during his trial, however, that he had access to such information.
U.S. District Judge John Tinder set sentencing for April 13 on the six convictions. Shaaban faces up to 55 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
Shaaban, 53, represented himself during his trial with the help of two standby public defenders. He repeated during his closing arguments his contention that the government has mistaken him for a now-dead identical twin who worked for the CIA. Witnesses including an older brother and ex-wife disputed that.
U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks said she was pleased with the verdict and declined to speculate on why Shaaban was not convicted on the seventh count. She said she did not expect her office to seek to retry Shaaban on that count.
Mike Donahoe, an attorney who advised Shaaban during the trial, said an appeal is likely.
"I'm disappointed in the verdict," he said. "I don't think he represents a threat to our national security."
Shaaban was working as a truck driver and living near Indianapolis when he was arrested in March. FBI agents who raided his house that month allegedly found computer files praising Saddam and an unsigned contract proposing to recruit "human shields" to protect Iraq from the U.S. invasion.
In tape recordings played in his trial, Shaaban told an FBI undercover agent he never had a list of agents but that he had hoped to receive the information from a Russian contact.