Pollard, who worked as a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, was arrested in 1985 and indicted in 1987 on one count of passing classified information to an ally, Israel. He gave up his right to a trial and entered into a plea agreement, which was intended to spare both Israel and the U.S. the embarrassment and damage that a lengthy trial might incur. Despite the government’s acknowledgment that Pollard fulfilled all the terms of his plea agreement, the government reneged.
He was sentenced to life despite the plea deal.
Pollard is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally. The median sentence for the offense is two to four years.