Man Pleads Guilty To Impersonating Officer At Alabama Fort
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ A 34-year-old man has been sentenced to three years in prison for impersonating an Army officer, a role he said he took on for the CIA.
Alan Everett Goetsch Jr., of Red Bluff, Calif., made parachute jumps at Fort Rucker while posing as a captain between Jan. 1 and April 9.
Although Goetsch had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge, he told U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson during his sentencing hearing Wednesday that he wanted to change his plea to innocent. Later Wednesday, Goetsch’s attorney withdrew that motion and allowed the guilty plea to stand.
Thompson then sentenced Goetsch to the maximum penalty of three years in prison and allowed him to remain free on $10,000 bond until Aug. 15. Thompson also ordered Goetsch to make restitution, incuding $54 to the U.S. Army.
Goetsch, who was arrested at Fort Rucker by FBI agents April 10 and indicted by a federal grand jury in May, said he was researching and preparing secret CIA projects. The CIA denied his contention.
During the hearing, Goetsch said an aide to Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., urged him to admit to the crime to avoid a trial.
He said Dr. Clifford Kiracofe warned that a trial would bring to light covert CIA operations Goetsch had helped plan with Helms’ support. Goetsch said the plan was to aid rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and to recover missing servicemen from Southeast Asia.
The defendant testified that Kiracofe and other Helms associates had promised he ″wouldn’t have to do a substantial amount of time,″ and would receive a ″large sum of money,″ if he pleaded guilty. Outside court, Goetsch said Kiracofe had promised him $500,000.
″That’s absolute nonsense,″ Kiracofe said in a telephone interview from Washington. ″I categorically deny that...It’s obviously a flight of his imagination.″
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Truncale also told Thompson he knew of no such promises.
In 1984, Goetsch pleaded guilty in Montana to a federal charge of lying on a bank loan application and to five county charges of passing worthless checks.
More recently, Goetsch assisted in undercover drug operations for the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, according to bureau officials.