TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The highest-ranking military man ever accused of spying was sentenced Thursday to life in prison.
George Trofimoff, 75, showed no reaction as U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew handed down the sentence. Trofimoff, a retired Army Reserve colonel, was a civilian intelligence chief for the Army in Germany at the height of the Cold War.
He had faced at least 27 years in prison. Assistant Secretary of Defense John P. Stenbit told the judge in a letter that anything less than a life term would be neither adequate punishment for him nor a deterrent to others.
Trofimoff was convicted of a single espionage count in June following a four-week trial that produced a parade of former KGB officials and international intelligence experts.
Trofimoff's spying career is believed to have spanned decades, beginning in the late 1960s or early 1970s and ending with the fall of the Soviet Union.
As head of the U.S. section of a joint interrogation center in Nuremberg, Germany, Trofimoff had easy access to secret military documents that detailed what the United States knew about its adversaries. The center was set up to debrief Iron Curtain defectors.
As he did during his trial, Trofimoff told the court Thursday that he was innocent of the charges.
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