MOSCOW, January 22 (RAPSI) – The attorney who has defended suspects in the high-profile murder cases of journalist Anna Politkovskaya and disgraced colonel Yury Budanov will be defended in a bribery case by 93 lawyers from various regions of Russia, Izvestia daily reported Wednesday.
Murad Musayev is under investigation for allegedly bribing a witness in the Budanov case. The attorney told Izvestia that the lawyers have offered to represent him voluntarily and free of charge.
According to the newspaper, the attorneys are from various regions of Russia, including Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Moscow. Musayev's main attorney is the prominent Russian lawyer Alexander Gofshtein.
Investigators allege that Musayev bribed two witnesses in January 2013 to give false testimonies at the trial of Yusup Temerkhanov, who was subsequently convicted of the murder of Budanov and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The Investigative Committee also says that between 2012 and 2013, Musayev tried to coerce the jury to acquit Temerkhanov, and attempted to persuade them to quit the jury panel.
Musayev, who is defending five men accused of the 2006 murder of investigative journalist Politkovskaya in an ongoing trial in Moscow, denies the charges of bribery and insists they are an attempt to exert pressure on him over his work.
During the course of the Budanov trial last year, Temerkhanov’s legal team alleged that two eyewitnesses in the case were threatened and that one was ordered to say Musayev had offered him money, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Budanov was convicted of war crimes in Chechnya in July 2003. A military court found him guilty of abuse of power in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an 18-year-old Chechen woman, Elza Kungayeva. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released on parole in January 2009. In June 2011, Budanov was shot dead in broad daylight in Moscow.