Wife of Army soldier detained in Russia previously retained divorce lawyer, not aware of his travels: attorney

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The wife of a U.S. Army soldier being detained in Russia while visiting a girlfriend retained a divorce lawyer in 2022, and was not aware of his travels, her lawyer said Thursday. 

Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, 34, an infantry soldier, was detained in the Russian port city of Vladivostok on May 2. He was charged with criminal misconduct and is accused of stealing from his longtime girlfriend.

The regional branch of the Russian Interior Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that Black and his girlfriend had a conflict, and she reported him to the police, claiming that she found cash missing after he stayed with her, The Associated Press reported.

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Black, who had out-processed from his duty station in South Korea, was supposed to fly back to the U.S. to report to Fort Cavazos, Texas.

“Megan Black wishes to make clear that she had no advance knowledge of Mr. Black’s intentions to travel to Russia,” her attorney, Brett Pritchard, said in a statement. 

She became aware of her husband being absent from Fort Cavaszos when Army investigators reached out to her about his whereabouts, Pritchard said. 

Gordon Black’s mother, Melody Jones, said she believes her son was set up. She said her son’s relationship with the Russian woman was “volatile,” and that she suspected the longtime girlfriend might be a spy.

“I knew something was going to happen,” Jones told “GMA.” “I felt like he was being set up by her.”

Black’s wife believes his decision to go to Russia, at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are severely strained, was “ill-advised” but was motivated by “entirely personal reasons involving an extra-marital affair between himself and a Russian national, and that Mr. Black is not involved in any form of geopolitical intrigue.”

Pritchard confirmed that Megan Black retained his services in July 2022 to initiate divorce proceedings after nine years of marriage to her husband. The couple share a 6-year-old daughter, he said. 

The pair have known each other since 2014 and got married in Belton, Texas, a suburb near the Army installation, after Black was assigned there, Pritchard said. 

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Megan Black hopes her husband returns to the U.S. safely as soon as possible, Pritchard said. His arrest has put a strain on their daughter, “who has to deal with the dual uncertainty of not knowing when she will see or hear from her father again.”

Meanwhile, the divorce proceedings remain “in limbo by a Texas family law court pending a potentially indefinite resolution of Mr. Black’s incarceration status,” Pritchard said.