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Espionage trial for former Va. sailor begins

Friday - 8/16/2013, 6:20am  ET

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- A former sailor on trial for attempted espionage claims he gave classified information to what he believed were Russian spies in an attempt to catch them.

The federal trial for retired Petty Officer 1st Class Robert P. Hoffman II began Thursday in Norfolk.

Hoffman spent much of his 20-year Navy career on submarines. After a trip to Eastern Europe in 2011, the FBI sent Hoffman a letter purporting to be from Russian intelligence officers asking him to provide "technical expertise." Hoffman made three drops in all, including one in which he provided his handlers with information about how to track American submarines.

Hoffman then approached the FBI in Norfolk and gave agents a diary and other evidence.

Media outlets report the trial is expected to last into next week.

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Tags: fbi