In what will surely become a plot point for next season's The Americans, an engineer who worked for a defense contractor has pleaded guilty to economic espionage and violating the Arms Export Control Act after he sold sensitive information to someone he believed was a Russian spy.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles announced that 49-year-old Gregory Allen Justice pleaded guilty to two felony offenses that could see him spending up to 35 years in jail.
Justice believed he was providing the stolen proprietary trade secrets he had taken from his employer to a member of Russia's intelligence service in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash. But, as it turns out, the person Justice was talking to was actually an FBI agent who was working of the FBI's counter intelligence operations in the U.S..
According to Attorney's office, Justice took documents that contained technical data that is covered by the United States Munitions List which made them subject to export restrictions.
And to make it even more obvious that art was mirroring reality, Justice even chatted with his 'Russian agent' about how he wanted to develop a relationship similar to the one depicted on the FX television program, The Americans.
In exchange for providing these materials during a series of meeting between February and July of 2016, Justice sought and received thousands of dollars in cash payments. During one meeting, Justice and the undercover agent discussed developing a relationship like one depicted on the television show “The Americans,” and during their final meeting, Justice offered to take the undercover agent on a tour of his employer’s production facilities where Justice said all military spacecraft were built, according to the plea agreement.
Justice specifically pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to commit economic espionage and one count of attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act. A sentencing hearing for Justice has been set for September 18th. Justice has been in custody since his arrest last July.
For now, Justice will have plenty of time (if not the cable access) to binge-watch any episodes of The Americans he might miss while in prison.
Photo Credit: Getty Images