Snowden hired an Espionage Act defense lawyer to work on a U.S. plea deal

That brings his lawyer count up to at least four.


Kevin Collier


Published Apr 30, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 9:44 am CDT

Whistleblower Edward Snowden reportedly hired a lawyer in an attempt to cut a plea deal with the U.S. government.

Plato Cacheris, regarded as an expert in the Espionage Act—violation of which is the main charge brought against Snowden—has been working for Snowden since he leaked a host of National Security Agency documents last summer, according to the New York Times.

Some of the story of Snowden’s first days as a leaker are still shrouded in mystery. Here’s what we do know, based on various reports: He fled the U.S. for Hong Kong, physically handed over the documents, and boarded a flight to Moscow for a connecting flight. By then, the U.S.’s charges had been leveled and his passport suspended, so he spent weeks in the legal ambiguity of an international airport, where he stayed until Russia gave him temporary asylum.

He’s been tied to at least three other lawyers: Jesselyn Radack, who successfully defended former NSA executive Thomas Drake against Espionage Act charges; Anatoly Kucherena, the Russian attorney who helped negotiate Snowden’s asylum; and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner, who believes Snowden can eventually return to the U.S.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said he would consider a plea deal with Snowden, but dismissed the possibility of amnesty.

Screengrab via The Guardian/YouTube. Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Apr 30, 2014, 10:13 am CDT