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New York court appoints new hearing in Viktor Bout case for February 8

February 04, 2012, 6:32 UTC+3
Earlier, it was planned to announce a sentence to Russian citizen, but it was postponed
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NEW YORK, February 4 (Itar-Tass) — The Federal Court for the Southern District of New York has appointed a new hearing on the case of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who last November was found guilty of smuggling weapons, for February 8, the court spokeswoman Stephanie Cirkovich said on Friday.

Earlier, it was planned to announce a sentence to Russian citizen, but it was postponed because presiding Judge Shira Scheindlin had not enough time to made a decision on the defence appeal.

At the February 8 hearing it is planned to consider an appeal filed by Viktor Bout’s defence lawyer Albert Dayan who demands the verdict’s repeal and a retrial. The document specifies in detail the reasons for this demand. In particular, Dayan argues that the prosecution failed to prove that Bout had criminal intention to kill Americans. The lawyer said that the prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence that the weapons that Bout allegedly intended to sell to a group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were intended for killing American pilots in the country. The defence lawyer also noted that no relationship between the actions of Bout and the United States was established, which calls into question the legitimacy of his prosecution in this country. Thus, Dayan insisted that Bout should be acquitted on all four counts.

On January 20, Dayan filed another motion requesting retrial of the Russian businessman’s case on the grounds that either incorrect or incomplete statements were used in the indictment, and the jurors, making their decision, relied on an incorrectly drawn up document.

According to Cirkovich, at the court meeting on February 8 a new date for Bout’s sentencing can be named.

On November 2, 2011, a panel of 12 jurors unanimously found Bout guilty on all four counts: conspiracy to kill US nationals, conspiracy to kill US public servants, conspiracy to buy and sell anti-aircraft missiles, conspiracy to supply weapons to terrorist groups.

According to the charges brought against him, the 44-year-old Russian businessman is facing 25 years to life in prison.

Viktor Bout has pleaded not guilty.

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