Femme Fatale Chapman Fears Deportation
Published: July 6, 2010 (Issue # 1589)
Luke Macgregor / Reuters
A photo of Chapman and her ex-husband on the front page of a British paper.
NEW YORK — The Russian diplomat’s daughter accused of being a spy is “embarrassed” by photos of her that have turned up in media reports and fears that she will be deported, her lawyer said.
Attorney Robert Baum said he showed Anna Chapman, 28, some of the tabloid newspaper stories that have branded the redhead as a femme fatale and feature photographs from her Facebook page, showing the smiling Russian enjoying Manhattan’s nightlife scene, posing in front of the Statue of Liberty and mixing with businessmen at a conference.
“She was embarrassed by some of the photos that were obviously taken from her Facebook pages,” the lawyer said. “The truth is she’s probably no different than your typical single 28-year-old woman in New York City. She runs a successful business, goes out at night. She dates men, enjoys a social life.”
Chapman is charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, which carries a potential penalty of five years in prison.
Baum said Chapman’s father told her to go to police with a fake passport an undercover FBI agent had given to her, leading to her arrest and solitary confinement. He said he may use that information to appeal the bail decision.
At a bail hearing last Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz said only that investigators on June 27 intercepted phone calls in which Chapman was “talking to a man who is advising her, who is telling her essentially … to make up a story, to say that she’s being intimidated, that this might be some other criminal activity, and who advises her to get out of the country and to go to the police.”
Baum said he believed that the phone calls cited by prosecutors were conversations between Chapman and her father, whom Baum described as a low-level embassy employee whose family was middle class.
Baum said Chapman told him that she reached out to her father, Vasily Kushchenko, a day after an FBI agent posing as a Russian consulate employee asked her to deliver a fraudulent passport to an alleged spy.
“She spoke to her father, and her father said, ‘Go turn the passport in,’” Baum said. “Her father said, ‘You’ve got this passport. It’s forged. Go turn it into the police,’ and that’s exactly what she did.”
Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan, declined to comment.
Baum discounted published reports Friday quoting Chapman’s ex-husband as saying her father is a spy.
“I won’t go into the circumstances of divorce, but he may be somewhat bitter about it,” Baum said.
Her ex-husband, Alex Chapman, told London’s Daily Telegraph that he had not been surprised to learn that his former wife had been arrested.
“Towards the end of our marriage she became very secretive, going for meetings on her own with ‘Russian friends’, and I guess it might have been because she was in contact with the Russian government,” he was quoted as saying in a Friday article.