Prosecutors: Suspect in Russian spy ring confessed

Russian spy suspects, Anna Chapman, Vicky Pelaez, Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy and Juan Lazaro, are seen in courtroom sketch.

From Tom Hays, the AP:  One of the suspects in an alleged spy ring has confessed to federal agents that he worked for Russia’s intelligence service, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The revelation came on a day when several defendants in the case were making court appearances, and prosecutors announced that they had discovered $80,000 in new, hundred dollar bills in the safe-deposit box of two other suspects. …

Authorities said in a court filing that Juan Lazaro made a lengthy statement after his June 27 arrest in which he discussed some details of the operation, which prosecutors said involved Russian moles living under assumed identities in American suburbs.

Among other things, he admitted that "Juan Lazaro" was not his real name, that wasn’t born in Uruguay, as he had long claimed, that his home in Yonkers had been paid for by Russian intelligence, and that his wife, the Peruvian journalist Vicky Pelaez, had passed letters to the "Service" on his behalf. …

Prosecutors submitted the information to underscore evidence that they said was so strong that U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis should deny bail for Lazaro, Pelaez, and two suspects who had been living in New Jersey, Richard and Cynthia Murphy.

Update from Tom Hays, the AP:  A judge has granted bail to one person accused of spying for Russia and denied bail to two others after a prosecutor warned the defendants had plenty of helpers in the U.S. to help them flee. …

The magistrate said Vicky Pelaez (peh-LAYEHZ’) a Spanish-language journalist who lives in Yonkers, N.Y., could be freed on $250,000 bail plus house arrest as soon as Tuesday.

Ellis denied bail to Richard and Cynthia Murphy of Montclair, N.J. A bail hearing was postponed for Juan Lazaro, Pelaez’ husband.  (graphic: Reuters)

Image: reuters%207%201%2010%20Anna%20Chapman%20Vicky%20Pelaez%20Richard%20Murphy%20Cynthia%20Murphy%20Juan%20Lazaro.jpg