Viktor Bout Fate Now in the Hands of the Jury

The jury in the Viktor Bout case is deliberating (background here.) Here's a good summary of the closing arguments.

What happens if Bout is acquitted? The U.S. may have a backup plan. There's another pending indictment filed in February, 2010 pending against him and his former business associate Richard Chichakli in New York, for money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA") by attempting to purchase two airplanes in the U.S. after the U.N. and OFAC imposed blocking sanctions. The Indictment is here. [More....]

Chichakli gives his version here. Interesting that the charges were brought after the Thai court had rejected extradition in August, 2009 on the FARC case and before it reversed itself in May, 2010.

Chichakli has a website dedicated to the denouncing the case with lots of documents, including a letter from Andrew Smulian's wife promising Andrew would protect him and Viktor Bout for the sum of $300,000. Smulian was arrested with Bout in Bangkok, immediately agreed to cooperate and was a chief witness against Bout in the current trial.

Here's the verdict form the jury will complete, which I got from the website of arms-trafficking investigator Kathi Lynn Austin, who's been tracking Bout for years and attending the trial, eagerly awaiting the jury's decision (hoping for a conviction.)

Since I don't approve of the means by which the DEA set up Viktor Bout, the amount of money expended on the informants, the investigation and the prosecution, the manufactured jurisdiction (which the court said was not manufactured) or the manner in which the U.S. obtained his extradition, I'm hoping he gets acquitted.

Bout has yet to enter an appearance on the 2010 case (unless it was sealed) and the docket shows no entry of appearance for counsel for him (there are appearances for Government counsel.) The U.S. Attorney's press release thanks the DEA, which shows they were also involved in obtaining this indictment. Just goes to show, once again, the awesome (and not in a good way) powers of the Government when it gets you in its cross-hairs and decides to take you down. It's truly frightening.

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