SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors plan to offer a plea deal to a Utah man accused of selling classified information to the Chinese government.
During a hearing Monday for Ron Rockwell Hansen, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah said it did intend to offer a deal. However, if he rejected it, they intended to seek a new grand jury indictment and level more charges against him.
“I think we are still discussing whether this can be resolved without a trial,” Hansen’s defense attorney, Jami Johnson, told the judge during the hearing.
The case has been complicated by a lot of classified information that is at the heart of the case. Attorneys discussed ways to ensure a fair trial for Hansen while dealing with national security and classified intelligence. The judge, clerks, lawyers and investigators have had to undergo background checks. Defense lawyers have to venture out to the FBI offices to view classified information in a secure room.
“We do now have a classified computer that was given to us on Friday. We’ve been taking classified notes on pieces of paper. We have not been able to take digital notes,” Johnson told the judge.
Outside court, assistant U.S. Attorney for Utah Rob Lund called the case “unique” given the level of classified info.
“It’s very unique circumstances and, given the sensitivities of the case, we’re not commenting,” he told FOX 13.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner declined to set a trial date while security information was worked out.
Hansen is accused of being an agent of a foreign government; attempting to gather or deliver Defense information; structuring monetary transactions; and smuggling goods from the United States. He faces up to life in prison, if convicted.
A grand jury indictment alleges Hansen had been a defense intelligence contractor who was passing classified information along to the People’s Republic of China Intelligence Services. The indictment claims he repeatedly tried to gain intelligence information after leaving work for the U.S. government but offered to work as a “double agent” — including contacting a congressman on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. However, the indictment alleges Hansen never disclosed to the feds that he was ever working as an agent of the Chinese government.
Federal prosecutors allege Hansen traveled between the U.S. and China between 2013 and 2017, and provided information to contacts in China and receiving payments of at least $800,000.
Before court started on Monday, members of Hansen’s family handed FOX 13 a manila envelope containing a statement and copies of military commendations he had received throughout his career. The statement was critical of prosecutors and news media covering his criminal case.
Read the full statement here:
Ron Hansen entered military service in July 1985.
Attached are a few of his military awards. He has many more.
The phrases used to describe his intelligence operations include words such as unprecedented and unparalleled.
That is the simple truth of the matter.
Ron Hansen’s body of work and accomplishments during the 27 years he served the United States of America as an intelligence officer are in fact unprecedented and unparalleled.
Once upon a time, there was a country whose justice system was a shining light unto all the world, where citizens were presumed innocent unless proven guilty, where fair and balanced reporting was zealously guarded by the media who were not yet slaves to ratings and market share percentages.
Unfortunately, that justice system and those champions in the media seem to now be found only in fairy tales and books about lost legends.
Convicted felon General Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration and the National Security Advisor to President Trump was conducting intelligence operations against the United States while serving as the National Security Advisor.
General Flynn is being investigated and prosecuted by the same FBI and Department of Justice as Ron Hansen. To date General Flynn has not spent one minute in jail.
And yet, millions of US school children still recite the words that end with … “And liberty and justice for all.”