A nuclear submarine crewman who tried to sell military secrets to the Russians was sentenced to 27 years in prison even though a Navy jury recommended life.

Petty Officer Kurt G. Lessenthien cut a deal with prosecutors and then went forward with a jury sentencing on Monday hoping it would result in a lighter sentence.Instead, the jury recommended the maximum, forcing Lessenthien, 30, to take the 27 years. He will be eligible for parole after nine years.

Lessenthien, an instructor at the Navy's Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Fla., contacted the Russian embassy in March and offered to sell classified nuclear submarine information, officials said.

The day after the call, an FBI agent posing as a spy contacted Lessenthien and agreed to pay $11,000 for two packages of classified material.

In court proceedings, the 12-year veteran said he thought he could stop his wife from leaving him if he paid off $25,000 in debts from buying her gifts. A Navy psychiatrist testified Lessenthien has a personality disorder that made him dependent on women and obsessive about his relationships.

But a Navy prosecutor said Lessenthien spied for money and excitement, not love.

He pleaded guilty Sept. 20 to attempted espionage and failure to properly safeguard classified material.