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Originally published Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Judge: Woman with NW ties in Iraqi spy case is unfit for trial

A judge in New York has ruled that a former congressional aide accused of helping an Iraqi spy agency while Saddam Hussein was in power is mentally unfit for trial.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A judge in New York has ruled that a former congressional aide accused of helping an Iraqi spy agency while Saddam Hussein was in power is mentally unfit for trial.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska announced her finding in the case of Susan Lindauer.

The defendant was arrested in 2004 on charges including that she conspired to act as a spy for the Iraqi intelligence service.

Lindauer worked in the press offices of several members of Congress and as a magazine journalist.

The judge said late Monday she based her decision largely on the testimony of a psychiatrist who was brought into the case by prosecutors.

Psychiatrist Stuart Kleinman said at a hearing that Lindauer has a long-standing mental disorder that includes grandiose delusions.

Lindauer, a former journalist, worked in the late 1980s for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Herald in Everett.

She worked briefly as a researcher at U.S. News & World Report in the early 1990s.

She was a press secretary for Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon in 1993; then-Rep. Ron Wyden of Oregon, now a senator, the following year.

Her father, John Lindauer, a former chancellor at the University of Alaska, lost a 1998 bid to become the state's governor as a Republican.

In 2004, former co-workers at The Herald remembered her as a brilliant, passionate woman.

Retired publisher Larry Hanson said then that she impressed him at editorial-board meetings with the depth of her feelings about issues under discussion

But Lou Wein, her former supervisor at The Herald, where she wrote editorials between August 1987 and July 1989, said she suffered from mood swings and sometimes erratic behavior.

Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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