A Fox News guest terrorism analyst pleaded not guilty on Friday to U.S. charges that he falsely claimed to have been a CIA agent for decades, federal prosecutors said.
Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, Maryland, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington suburb, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Trial was set for Feb. 23. The Speedy Trial Act was waived because Judge T.S. Ellis III found the case “unusual and complex,” the statement said.
Simmons had appeared on Fox News, the top-ranked U.S. cable television news network, as an unpaid guest analyst on terrorism since 2002.
A grand jury indicted him last week for portraying himself as an “Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Officer” for the CIA from 1973 to 2000. The indictment said Simmons allegedly tried to use that claim to get government security clearances and work as a defense contractor. At one point he was deployed overseas as an intelligence adviser to senior military officers. He faces charges of major fraud against the United States, wire fraud and making false statements to the government. A federal judge has ordered Simmons held in jail, citing arrests for driving under the influence and assault and firearms convictions.
The prosecutors’ statement said Simmons’ lawyer, public defender Whitney Minter, was seeking a top secret clearance.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)