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Novi man accused of spying in Russia given flash drive before arrest, attorney says

Paul Whelan says he didn't look at contents of flash drive

NOVI, Mich. – A Novi man under arrest on suspicion of spying in Russia was denied bail Tuesday in a Moscow court.

Paul Whelan said he's innocent, and his Russian lawyer said his client was detained after he unwittingly received "state secrets" on a computer thumb drive.

Whelan has been held in a Russian prison since late December on accusations of espionage. According to his brother, there was little hope that Whelan would be released Tuesday pending a trial in Russia.

Whelan's attorney has conceded that he was arrested in possession of a computer flash drive. Russian officials allege the drive held a list of employees of a state security agency, which is classified information.

Whelan, through his attorney, said someone gave him the flash drive, though who it was is unclear. He said he didn't look at the flash drive or know its contents.

It will likely be at least six months before Whelan goes to trial, according to officials.

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