A mistrial was declared Thursday in the federal trial of two Maryland doctors charged with trying to help Russia in its war against Ukraine with medical records they believed Moscow could exploit.
The Baltimore Sun reports that U.S. District Judge Stephanie Gallagher declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked following two days of deliberations.
Dr. Anna Gabrielian, a former Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist, and her spouse, Dr. Jamie Lee Henry, a physician and major in the U.S. Army, remain charged with conspiring to assist Russia after it invaded Ukraine and disclosing the health information of several patients. The charges carry maximum penalties of decades in prison.
Prosecutors have the option of retrying the doctors. A spokesperson for the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Thursday that officials would “review the matter and make a determination as to next steps.”
Defense lawyers for Gabrielian and Henry declined to comment. The doctors, who left the federal courthouse in downtown Baltimore hand-in-hand after the mistrial was declared, also declined to comment.
Gabrielian and Henry were accused of passing private patient records to an undercover agent posing as a Russian official.
“These two defendants want to be ‘long-term weapons’ for Russia,” prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, deputy chief of the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section, said in closing arguments.
Zelinsky was quoting language Gabrielian used in a meeting with an undercover FBI agent. The government presented hours of footage captured by that agent’s covert camera during several meetings with Gabrielian and Henry, including one in which the doctors provided medical information of eight patients to the agent.
One of the patients was married to an employee of the Office of Naval Intelligence, the federal indictment said. The undercover agent was told the spouse had a medical issue that Russia could use to its advantage.
Defense lawyers said the doctors only wanted to help save lives during the war and that the undercover agent coerced them to break the law.
“This was not about helping Russia and hurting the United States. This was about offering humanitarian aid,” Henry’s attorney, David Walsh-Little, said in closing arguments
The FBI launched an investigation into Gabrielian after she emailed the Russian embassy five days after the war broke out, identifying her and Henry as doctors.
“We are ready to help if there is a need for that,” she wrote. “We are for life, and do not want to cut Russia off from the international community.”
During their meetings, the agent spoke in Russian to Gabrielian, who was born in Russia, according to the footage from the agent’s camera played in court.
Gabrielian said Henry could provide information regarding how the U.S. military establishes hospitals in war conditions as well as information about previous training the U.S. provided to Ukraine, according to the indictment.