Former Fox News Pundit Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud

Judge cites Wayne Simmons' 11 previous arrests for DUI during hearing

A Maryland man accused of lying about a 27-year career with the CIA says he's not guilty.

Wayne Simmons, 62, of Annapolis, entered a not guilty plea on Friday. He is charged with fraud against the United States and making false statements to the government.

On Friday, the judge also set a trial date of Feb. 23, 2016. The court waived the Speedy Trial Act because the case is "unusual and complex," Joshua Stueve, a spokesman with the U.S. attorney for Eastern Virginia, said.

Simmons had claimed he was an "Outside Paramilitary Special Operations" CIA officer and tried to get government security clearances and work as a defense contractor, prosecutors say.

Earlier this week, Judge Ivan D. Davis refused to release Simmons before trial, calling him "a significant danger to the community," noting he had been arrested 11 times for driving while intoxicated, according to the office of the U.S. attorney for Eastern Virginia. Simmons has also been previously arrested for assault and on multiple felony firearms charges.

Simmons had claimed that his prior arrests and convictions were related to his CIA work, the statement said. He's also charged with defrauding an unnamed victim out of $125,000 in a real estate investment.

A web site registered to Wayne Simmons of Beltsville, Maryland, claims Simmons was recruited out of the U.S. Navy and "spearheaded deep cover intel ops against some of the world's most dangerous drug cartels and arms smugglers from Central and South America and the Middle East."

The site also claims Simmons was "one of the first outside Intelligence officers to visit GITMO."

The site registration lists a phone number that rings to an answering service for "Wayne." No one returned a message seeking comment.

As recently as April, Simmons was identified on air on Fox radio as a "Fox News contributor." In a 2009 Fox News clip, he calls House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "a pathological liar'" in a segment about CIA interrogation techniques.

A Fox News spokeswoman, Carly Shanahan, said Simmons was never more than a guest on the network. "He was never a paid commentator,'' she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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