Stewart David Nozette, space scientist pleads guilty to spy charge

(WJLA, AP) - A government space scientist accused of trying to sell classified information to Israel entered a guilty plea in federal court Wednesday morning.

Stewart David Nozette, 54,{ }of{ }Chevy Chase, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted espionage. A status hearing is set{ }{ }for November 15, but no sentencing date was scheduled.

The plea agreement, which is subject to Senior Judge Paul L. Friedman's approval, calls for an agreed-upon prison term of 13 years.

Nozette was arrested nearly two years in an undercover sting operation in which he allegedly tried to sell secrets to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer for $2 million.

Nozette had high-level security clearances during decades of government work on science and space projects at NASA, the Energy Department and the National Space Council in President George H.W. Bush's White House. He also helped discover evidence of water on the moon.

Because Nozette knows so many secrets, including about the nation's nuclear missile program, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered special communications restrictions placed on him in jail. He's been behind bars since his arrest.

Nozette has been charged with four counts of attempted espionage, which could carry the death penalty.