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MILLER ADMITS DOWNFALL WAS DUE TO SEXUAL INDISCRETION, STUPIDITY

SHARE MILLER ADMITS DOWNFALL WAS DUE TO SEXUAL INDISCRETION, STUPIDITY

Richard Miller, the only FBI agent ever charged with spying for allegedly passing secret documents to his Soviet lover, admitted Thursday that sexual indiscretion and his "own stupidity" led to his personal and professional downfall.

In a rare interview in which he reasserted his "absolute" innocence, Miller said his propensity for adulterous affairs "more than anything else" resulted in the government's espionage case against him.After his first trial ended in a jury deadlock, Miller was convicted in June 1986 of passing secrets to Soviet spy Svetlana Ogorodnikova during a four-month love affair in 1984.

The conviction was reversed April 25 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the trial judge permitted too much testimony about lie detector tests Miller failed. He faces a third trial in 1990.

Miller, an excommunicated Mormon who said he still has a deep religious faith said, "I feel more guilt about (the affairs) than any single thing."

"I've always tried to be a very moral person," Miller said. "Having five affairs in two years isn't very moral.

"I guess I got caught up in the sexual revolution of the `80s. It could have possibly been a mid-life crisis," said Miller, who turns 53 next week.

During the two-hour interview, his first in three years, Miller told a group of reporters that he felt he had been a generally "good" FBI agent.

Repeating the rationale he has used to defend his actions in court, Miller said he erroneously believed he could use Ogorodnikova to infiltrate the Soviet KGB and save his faltering career with the FBI.

"I know the truth of the matter," Miller said. "I am innocent of all charges the government has put on me. Specifically, at no time did I give that lady (Ogorodnikova) any (secret) document."

Miller refused to discuss the facts of the case and his attorneys would not allow him to answer questions about defense strategy.

Ogorodnikov is currently serving an 18-year prison term after pleading guilty in the case.