Wife of Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross is suing the United States government and global development company DAI for up to $60 million, claiming they did not properly train her husband for the risks of working in Cuba, CBS News reported.
Judy Gross has been fighting for her husband’s release since he was imprisoned in 2009 for allegedly distributing laptops and communications equipment to members of Cuba's small Jewish community under a U.S. State Department contract.
"It's this country that sent Alan on this mission, and Alan is rotting in a jail cell, and I'm asking President [Barack] Obama to do something about it," Judy Gross told CBS News.
Asked about Cuban allegations of Alan Gross being a spy, Judy responded "absolutely not."
She says her husband did not speak Spanish and traveled to the country alone, after telling his employer, DAI, that the visits were becoming increasingly risky.
On his fifth trip, the Cuban government arrested him and in March 2011 he was found guilty of "acts against the independence or territorial integrity" of Cuba and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Cuba has indicated that they would consider releasing Gross if the United States frees members of the Cuban Five espionage ring, who were found guilty in 2001 of trying to infiltrate US military installations in southern Florida. They were sentenced to prison, with sentences ranging from 15 years to life. While the U.S. has refused to meet Cuban demands, it continues to demand his release.
Since his imprisonment, Gross’ health has significantly deteriorated. He suffers from numerous medical ailments, including degenerative arthritis, and has reportedly lost more than 100 pounds (45 kilos) in prison.
Judy reflected on her efforts to secure her husband’s release, telling CBS News that she has “lost 80 percent of salary.”
“I'm working full-time, and then I come home, and I have almost another full-time job working on bringing Alan home," she said. “The government, again, sent him there, and I'm footing the bill to try and get him home."