Court Sentences Chief Petty Officer Bryce Pedicini to 18 Years for Attempted Espionage

Navy Chief Petty Officer Bryce Pedicini
Navy Chief Petty Officer Bryce Pedicini. (Facebook/Bryce Pedicini)

Navy Chief Petty Officer Bryce Pedicini, who was convicted of attempted espionage in April, has been sentenced to 18 years in military prison, the service confirmed in a statement released Thursday.

In addition to his prison sentence, which comes after a conviction on charges of attempted espionage and failure to follow a lawful order, the statement from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service also said that Pedicini was given a dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank to E-1.

In earlier statements, NCIS said that the sailor "engaged with the foreign government representative under the guise of writing research papers," but officials never disclosed the identity of the country.

Read Next: Unprotected: Troops Spent Decades Elbow-Deep in Dangerous Chemicals to Keep Nuclear Missiles Working

When Pedicini was first charged, the Navy released documents that showed he was accused of delivering two sets of classified national defense documents -- referred to as "Article 1112" and "Article 1223" in the legal paperwork -- to "a citizen and employee of a foreign government" between November 2022 and February 2023 in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The charging documents went on to say that these "articles" were broken up into smaller sections, which Pedicini then delivered over several instances.

    Pedicini also provided "images of a [secret-level classification] computer screen to a citizen and employee of a foreign government" in mid-May in Yokosuka, Japan.

    He was previously stationed aboard the destroyer USS Higgins, which is homeported in Yokosuka.

    When the case was first charged, Pedicini faced allegations of espionage, but he was convicted of the lesser offense of attempted espionage. Officials have not explained why this occurred.

    Regardless, the conviction is a high-profile win for Navy prosecutors who have struggled to get convictions in major cases in the past few years.

    In 2022, Navy prosecutors lost their criminal case against Seaman Ryan Mays -- a junior sailor accused of setting the fire that led to the loss of the USS Bonhomme Richard -- when he was acquitted of charges of willful hazarding of a vessel and aggravated arson.

    The Navy had chosen to press forward with the court-martial despite the fact that the legal officer who presided over the initial hearing recommended against the case going forward.

    In 2019, Navy prosecutors also failed to convict Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher of most charges in a highly publicized war crimes trial despite him publicly admitting to some of the key facts.

    The lead prosecutor in that case was also removed from the case after it was discovered that he was embedding tracking code in emails to journalists and defense teams in an effort to suss out the source of leaks to the media.

    Years after the trial, one legal expert told that he felt that prosecutors badly bungled the case.

    Pedicini, who is originally from Tennessee, first enlisted in 2008. His awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, three Good Conduct Medals, and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.

    Related: Navy Chief Petty Officer Convicted of Attempted Espionage at San Diego Court-Martial

    Story Continues