State-NewsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A former CIA employee serving a 3 1/2 year-prison for leaking government secrets to a reporter is taking his case to a federal appeals court.A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear Jeffrey Sterling’s case Tuesday. A jury convicted the 49-year-old on all counts last year after he was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking details of a CIA mission to New York Times journalist James Risen.Prosecutors portrayed Sterling as a disgruntled former employee who exposed a plan to stall Iranian ambitions to build a nuclear weapon in an attempt to discredit the CIA.Sterling’s attorneys and other advocates claim prosecutors only went after Sterling because Risen’s story made the CIA look foolish.

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