A judge declared a mistrial on Thursday after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict in the case of a former Johns Hopkins doctor and her spouse who is a U.S. Army major on charges that they obtained and disclosed private health information to help Russia.

“I want to thank you profusely for your service in this matter,” U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher told the jury. “I really do appreciate all of you.”

Anna Gabrielian, 37, a former anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins, and Jamie Lee Henry, 40, a doctor who had been stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, both of Rockville, stood trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on charges of conspiracy and wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Federal prosecutors alleged that the couple abused their positions as physicians and provided medical records to an undercover FBI special agent who they believed was a representative of the Russian government to aid a foreign power.

The jury deliberated for about 13 1/2 hours over three days. The foreperson indicated that members split 11-1 in favor of finding that the FBI did not entrap the couple into disclosing the health records, but they could not work past that issue.

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Gallagher asked the government to inform the court within two weeks whether it intends to try the case again.

The investigation began after Gabrielian sent an email — which she later followed up on that day with a phone call — to the Russian Embassy on March 1, 2022. That’s five days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” and invaded Ukraine.

“My husband and I are both doctors. I am an anesthesiologist, he works in intensive care,” the email read. “We are ready to help if there is a need for that. We are for life, and we do not want to cut off Russia from the international community.”

An undercover FBI special agent approached Gabrielian on Aug. 17, 2022, as she was on the way to work at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and they met again that night at a hotel in Baltimore. Gabrielian then arranged for Henry to join them later that evening.

Gabrielian and Henry subsequently provided private medical information of patients at Johns Hopkins and Fort Bragg at a meeting on Aug. 31, 2022.

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The government presented about five hours of surreptitiously recorded video. The FBI special agent testified while wearing a “light disguise” and using the pseudonym of Lena Simon. The press and public were not permitted in the courtroom during her testimony and, instead, had to listen from a different location.

Gabrielian testified for hours in her own defense. She admitted that she breached the confidentiality of her patients but stated that she feared retribution from Russia if she did not acquiesce and provide information to prove her loyalty.

Early on, Gabrielian looked at a hidden camera in the video and asked the FBI special agent if she was being recorded.

In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham said Gabrielian and Henry wanted to help Russia.

Cunningham told the jury that there was “no merit” to the idea that the “evil FBI” entrapped them.

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The couple, he said, was upset with how the West had treated Russia compared to Ukraine. Cunningham said Henry was also disgruntled with the Army and facing an administrative separation action.

“They were ready, willing and able to assist Russia in any way,” said Cunningham, who prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky.

Medical information, he said, is highly sought after in intelligence circles. Cunningham said the government had an “opened-ended” plan for the covert operation and would have ended the investigation if Gabrielian had only indicated that she wanted to provide humanitarian assistance to save lives.

Gabrielian in her communications identified Henry as an Army officer, Cunningham said. He said that’s “sending a signal to the recipient.”

“Who the hell did she think was going to be on the other end of a phone call to the Russian Embassy?” Cunningham asked.

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But Christopher Mead, Gabrielian’s attorney, contended that his client and her spouse wanted to heal the sick, treat the wounded and save lives.

Mead said the government “preyed upon the humanitarian aid that they were offering.” He described the case as unjust and misguided and contended that prosecutors cherry-picked the information that they presented to the jury.

“They were entrapped by their government,” Mead said in his closing argument. “It was a government-created crime.”

Mead noted that his client’s mother identifies as Ukrainian and added that she has relatives in the country. She also helped her Ukrainian colleague gather surplus medical supplies, Mead said.

Gabrielian, he said, thought she was dealing with a Russian intelligence agent who had been fishing for information and repeatedly expressed reluctance to provide medical records.

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“She’s scared to give a hard no,” said Mead, who added that the government displayed a lack of empathy in the case. “You don’t say no to the KGB. But she tried to talk them out of it like crazy.”

Meanwhile, David Walsh-Little, Henry’s attorney, said his client neither intended to cause malicious harm nor personally gained from providing private health records — an element that the government had to prove at trial.

Henry was the first-known active-duty Army officer to come out as transgender. Walsh-Little said it did not make sense that his client would want to help the Russian government, which oppresses members of the LGBTQ community.

Instead, Henry, he said, feared Russian intelligence and acted to protect family members. Walsh-Little also argued that the government entrapped the couple.

“This was not about helping Russia and hurting the United States,” Walsh-Little said in his closing argument.

Outside the Edward A. Garmatz U.S. Courthouse, one of the jurors, Denise Fortson, noted that the panel could not return a verdict in the case without a unanimous decision.

Said Fortson: “It’s frustrating when you can’t come to an agreement after two days of deliberation, and you see the evidence being presented there.”


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