BOSTON—A Cambridge couple accused of being Russian spies appeared in a Boston courtroom Thursday as their lawyers expressed skepticism about the government's claim that they have been working for years as undercover agents assigned to infiltrate U.S. policymaking circles.
Donald Howard Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, appeared in U.S. District Court for a bail hearing that was continued by a federal magistrate until July 16 to give their new lawyers time to prepare.
Outside court, Heathfield's lawyer, Peter Krupp, said the evidence the government has revealed so far to support the spying allegations is "extremely thin."
"It essentially suggests that they successfully infiltrated neighborhoods, cocktail parties and the PTA," he said after the hearing. "My client looks forward to facing the charges."
The couple were arrested Sunday at their Cambridge home. They are among 11 people accused of trying to infiltrate U.S. policymaking circles and send information back to Moscow.
As they were brought into the courtroom separately in handcuffs and leg shackles, Foley and Heathfield smiled at their two sons -- a teenager and a college student -- seated in the back. Heathfield and Foley, who sat at separate side-by-side tables with their attorneys, leaned back in their chairs and spoke briefly to one other. At one point, Heathfield blew a kiss to Foley and later gave her a subdued thumbs-up.
"My client and his wife right now are worried about their kids," Krupp said afterward.
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal ordered the couple to remain held without bail pending the July 16 hearing.
Authorities say the couple moved to Cambridge in 1999, used fake identities and told people they were from Canada. Actually, they were on long-term spying missions for Russia, the FBI said.
In an affidavit, the FBI alleges that Heathfield is using the identity of a Canadian who died as a baby in Montreal in 1963. Prosecutors say Foley's true identity is also unknown.
Heathfield and Foley are charged with conspiracy to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government and money laundering.
Foley worked as a real estate agent while Heathfield worked as a management consultant and had his own business, Future Map, which authorities say was a "cover" he used to try to gather intelligence for Russia's intelligence service, SVR.
Heathfield, who graduated from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2000, also had ties to several organizations involved in forecasting emerging technologies.
Prosecutors said that in 2004, Heathfield met with an employee of the U.S. government "with regard to nuclear weapons research."