The trial judge in the Federal criminal case against arms trafficker Viktor Bout has entered an order denying his motion for a new trial, based upon newly-discovered evidence. the Court, in a 26 page ruling, held that the information Bout's attorneys had presented in their motion did not meet the well-established requirements for a new trial, as a matter of law; The movant did not meet the high standard the law imposes.
The judge, who also denied his request for an evidentiary hearing, responded in detail to every item of evidence that Bout's counsel had presented, in support of the motion. Many Russian observers have accused the United States of entrapping Bout into engaging in criminal conduct with undercover US Government agents, and public opinion in Russia believes that his case was purely political.
Further complicating the issues is that fact that Bout, as well as his associate, convicted sanctions violator, Richard Chichakli, had a working relationship with American intelligence services, though the details remain classified.
Bout's conviction was previously affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and prior counsel failed to seek Certiorari from the US Supreme Court. Was the motion for a new trial actually a ploy, by current counsel, to get the case back before the appeals court ? We cannot say, but we will advise if and when an appeal of this ruling is filed.
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