US says Cuba has set date to try detained American

The State Department says Cuba has set a trial date for an American contractor jailed since December 2009 on suspicion of spying.

Department spokesman P.J. Crowley says in a Twitter posting that the U.S. hopes Maryland native Alan Gross will receive a fair trial and can come home. Crowley did not say when the trial would begin.

State news media reported in early February that Cuban prosecutors had charged Gross with "acts against the integrity and independence" of Cuba, and requested a 20-year jail term.

The U.S. government and Gross' family say Gross was distributing communications equipment to the island's Jewish community when he was arrested and sent to Havana's high-security prison.

Crowley says that what Gross did "is not a crime."