BOISE - Jurors this morning saw emails Edgar Steele sent to a 25-year-old European woman with whom prosecutors say he was seeking an intimate relationship. The messages were among more than 14,000 Steele sent through a Ukrainian online dating website in the months before his arrest last June.
Steele told Tatyana Loginova he was looking for "his second half, a girl he couldn't live without," and that he was not in love with his wife.
Edgar Steele told her he had "produced the greatest children in the world, but I deserve more. I will never have another American woman, never again," Assistant U.S. Attorney Traci Whelan said.
In testimony this morning in U.S. District Court in Boise, Steele's wife, Cyndi Steele, said the correspondence was simply part of his research into the Russian mail order bride scam.
She said the activity differed from her husband's inquires into online dating more than 10 years ago, which led to a divorce petition by Cyndi Steele in 2000. The couple reconciled.
Cyndi Steele said her husband, who is on trial for an alleged murder plot against her, said she knew of the correspondence.
"He told me about it because he wanted to discuss it with me, and how I felt about it...so I would know it was not like before," Cyndi Steele said. "And that's exactly what I did know, it was not like 2000, and this was nothing but research trying to bring down the bride scam."
Whelan said she reviewed emails with Cyndi Steele in her office last month to avoid surprising and embarrassing her at trial.
But, Cyndi Steele said today, "I knew what they were before I went in...I wasn't going to be embarrassed because I know about them."
But Edgar Steele could have made up any identity and told the women anything to gain information, Whelan said. Instead, he described his life to Loginova, sent her pictures of his home and the family's newborn kittens and even mentioned the couple 's, Rex.
In one email, Edgar Steele says he's worried Rex's mother will be at the home while he's visiting for spring break.
Cyndi Steele told jurors she wasn't concerned.
"He was setting up a ruse the same way the FBI agents did with my husband's arrest," she said.
Jurors were shown photos of Loginova from her online profile.
"That looks like one of the many pictures of girls that he showed me," Cyndi Steele said of the images. "All of the girls I saw were pretty like this and very similar in body structure."
Whelan also focused on Cyndi Steele's theft report regarding $45,000 in silver. She reported the theft in September, more than two months after her husband's arrest.
Whelan mentioned that Edgar Steele had called his son, Rex, in July and also asked him to report the theft, telling him that it was "very important"
"You were trying to establish this idea that your husband told you that Larry Fairfax may have stolen from you to help your husband's defense," Whelan said.
"I based my investigation on things that my husband had told me, and then I investigated," Steele replied.
Whelan said Edgar Steele viewed his wife's dream - her horse farm - as "a symbol of wasted money."
"He knew in reality it was not a money maker, but he knew it was my dream and supported it," Cyndi Steele said.