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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Expert's Wife Denies Robbery Theory

ADELPHI, Maryland -- The wife of an expert on Russian intelligence who was shot last week challenged reports Monday that her husband had been robbed, but said she did not know whether the incident was a random street crime or whether he had been deliberately targeted because of his criticism of the Kremlin.

In a brief interview at the couple's suburban Washington home, Elizabeth Joyal said reports that Paul Joyal's wallet and briefcase had been taken were false. She did not know of any possible motive for Thursday's shooting outside their home in what she said was a normally safe area.

"We really have no idea what the reason was," said Elizabeth Joyal, but she added: "It could easily have been a random act of violence."

A law enforcement official said the wallet was later found in Paul Joyal's car and that the briefcase has been accounted for, but did not provide details. The official requested anonymity because the probe is ongoing.

Paul Joyal, 53, was shot and wounded just days after he appeared on a U.S. televised show to allege that the Russian government was involved in the fatal poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London last year -- an allegation that has been made by others.

The timing of the shooting raised speculation that Joyal may have been targeted himself, and the FBI joined the Prince George's County police investigation because of the circumstances.

Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity had told several media outlets that the crime appeared to be a robbery gone bad.

Elizabeth Joyal said little about the specifics of the case, although she said she wanted to correct reports that her husband had been robbed. She did not say what happened to the items or how she knew they were not taken. She also corrected information that her husband had been shot in the groin, saying a bullet had struck his abdomen.