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US judge reduces probation for Russian spy's son

US judge reduces probation for Russian spy's son; movie profits would go to US government

US judge reduces probation for Russian spy's son

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) -- A U.S. judge has reduced the probation period for a man who smuggled notes to Russian officials from his imprisoned father, a former CIA officer convicted of espionage.

Federal Judge Anna Brown noted the "exemplary performance" of Nathan Nicholson on Tuesday as she knocked a year off his five-year probation. It will end in December 2014.

Nicholson was sentenced to probation in 2010 for conspiring with his father, Harold "Jim" Nicholson, who had been sentenced to 24 years in prison for his 1997 espionage conviction.

The father was serving time at a medium-security federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, when he began passing notes to the son to carry to Russian officials.

Nathan Nicholson smuggled the notes out of the prison and carried them to Russian diplomatic stations in San Francisco, Mexico City, Lima, Peru, and Nicosia, Cyprus. The Russians paid him $47,000.

Nathan Nicholson pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of a foreign government at his father's bidding.

Now 29, the son graduated last spring from Oregon State University in computer science and took a job creating websites.

He has agreed that profits from a possible movie about him would go to the U.S. government.

"Thanks to a huge amount of support through friends, family, and loved ones, I was able to become a working member of society once again," he told The Oregonian newspaper. "This is incredible news, and I am deeply humbled by it all."

His father was sentenced to an additional eight years for his role in the plot. He is in a federal prison in Colorado. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons lists his release date as June 27, 2024.


Information from: The Oregonian,