Navy Commander Charged with Swapping Classified Info for Prostitutes

Commander Jose Luis Sanchez appeared in front of a federal judge in San Diego, asking for a change in bail

One of two Navy commanders charged with accepting prostitutes, cash and other gifts from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified information appeared Wednesday in federal court.

Two weeks after his arrest in Florida, U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick.

His defense attorneys tried to convince the judge to remove GPS tracking from their client's bail requirements.

Judge Bartick refused and upheld the original conditions of bond set after Sanchez was arrested on Nov. 6.

Sanchez is the third senior U.S. Navy official arrested in connection with an extensive bribery scheme in Asia that involved prostitutes and luxury travel in exchange for help moving U.S. ships to specific ports of call.

The criminal probe recently widened to implicate two admirals.

In a criminal complaint, Sanchez is accused of passing schedules for U.S. Navy nuclear-powered vessels, aircraft carriers and support ships to a Malaysian contractor known in military circles as "Fat Leonard."

Federal authorities in September arrested Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz. He also is accused of passing confidential information on ship routes to Francis and his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA.

Also charged so far are Francis; the general manager of global government contracts for Francis' company, Alex Wisidagama; and a senior Navy investigator, John Beliveau II.

Beliveau is accused of keeping Francis abreast of the probe and advising him on how to respond in exchange for such things as luxury trips and prostitution services. All have pleaded not guilty. Their defense attorneys declined to comment.

On Wednesday, defense attorneys Vince Ward and Nancy Hollander did not address the charges against Sanchez as they flanked him leaving the downtown courthouse.

An arraignment was scheduled for Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. before Judge Bartick, at which time Sanchez will enter a plea.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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