French Flier Denies Treason, 'Aided U.S. and Fooled Nazis'
PARIS. (AP). Dieudonne Costes
, pioneer trans-Atlantic airman, testified Monday that he "fooled" the Germans and helped the allies while he was connected with both the German and American espionage services in World war II.
He is being tried by a French military court on a charge of intelligence with the enemy. Such a charge carries a possible death penalty upon conviction. However, observers in Paris expressed doubt that a death sentence would be imposed even if Costes is found guilty.
The 57-year-old defendant termed the accusations against him "entirely false." Under close questioning he told the judge: "I never had any intention of betraying my country."
In 1930 Costes and Maurice Bellonte made the first east-west flight over the north Atlantic.
In 1943, Costes told the court, he came to New York as a trusted agent of the Abwehr, the German army's counter intelligence service. He said that before he left Europe he had gone to work for the United States.
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Asked why the Germans called him one of their "best paid" and most valuable agents in documents produced at the Nuernberg [sic] war crimes trials, Costes replied: "I fooled the Germans and I think they wanted to take revenge on me."
His attorney, Jacques Isnori, said he had a sworn statement from Col. Dorsay Stephens, formerly in the U. S. military attache's office in Madrid, to prove that the allies got real help from Costes.
Lincoln Journal - Tuesday, March 15, 1949