Judge rejects ex-CIA worker's try to dismiss hacking charges

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 4, 2020, courtroom sketch, Joshua Schulte, center, is seated at the defense table flanked by his attorneys during jury deliberations in New York. A judge says Schulte, a former CIA employee, cannot get espionage charges against him dismissed on the grounds that there weren't enough Hispanic or Black individuals on the grand jury that indicted him. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 4, 2020, courtroom sketch, Joshua Schulte, center, is seated at the defense table flanked by his attorneys during jury deliberations in New York. A judge says Schulte, a former CIA employee, cannot get espionage charges against him dismissed on the grounds that there weren't enough Hispanic or Black individuals on the grand jury that indicted him. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, File) (Elizabeth Williams)

NEW YORK – A former CIA employee cannot get espionage charges against him dismissed on the grounds that there weren’t enough Hispanic or Black individuals on the grand jury that indicted him, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty issued his ruling in the case against Joshua Schulte, finding that there was nothing illegal about a suburban grand jury in White Plains returning the indictment during the coronavirus pandemic rather than a grand jury in Manhattan that normally would have done so.

Schulte faces an October trial on charges that he leaked a massive trove of CIA hacking tools to WikiLeaks.

Schulte, 32, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Schulte's lawyers had argued that nine criminal charges alleging that Schulte leaked national defense information to WikiLeaks should be dismissed because the grand jury did not reflect a fair cross-section of the Black and Hispanic populations in the community.

Crotty, though, said the reliance on a White Plains grand jury rather than one seated in Manhattan was necessitated by an “external force,” the pandemic, rather than an effort to exclude certain segments of the population from being empaneled.

He called the decision by prosecutors to seek indictment in White Plains “entirely proper."

A lawyer for Schultz did not immediately comment.