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    Viktor Bout

    Collecting Evidence From UN Next Step for Russia's Bout's Legal Team - Attorney

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    Lawyers for Russian businessman Viktor Bout are focused on obtaining materials they say could discredit United Nations Security Council sanctions against him, now that Bout’s legal appeal in the United States has been rejected, attorney Alexey Tarasov told Sputnik on Monday.

    NEW YORK (Sputnik) — Earlier Monday, a three-judge panel of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New York, rejected a recently filed motion by Bout’s lawyers for reopening a hearing in his case.

    "We are waiting for materials from the UN that can prove that the Security Council sanctions were wrongfully applied to Bout," Tarasov said.

    He explained that the materials could be crucial to getting the sanctions reversed, adding that Bout’s defense team is currently in communication with Security Council members and the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.

    The defense is seeking a retrial based on what it asserts is newly obtained evidence that Bout's alleged co-conspirator, South African national Andrew Smulian, was in fact a US government informant at the time of the men’s arrest in Thailand in 2008, Tarasov said.

    A federal district court in New York has denied the retrial motion, although its ruling acknowledged defense claims that the information suggests the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recruited Smulian in order “to get to Bout."

    In ruling in support of the trial judge, the three appeals judges determined that statements made by DEA agents in documentary-film interviews asserting Smulian's role as a government informant are open to interpretation, Tarasov said.

    Bout's lawyers believe that establishing Smulian's involvement with a federal law enforcement agency could lead to a resentencing or even a reversal of the conviction of their client, Tarasov explained. He called Monday’s denial by the 2nd Circuit judges unfair.

    "The defense was simply asking for a hearing — to give us a chance to question the agents interviewed in the 2014 documentary," Tarasov said. "If the court thinks that their claims are open for interpretation, and that they are vague, then at least give us a chance to talk to them and find out exactly what they mean."

    In October, Tarasov told Sputnik that Bout’s earlier bid for a retrial, in 2013, had been dismissed due to a lack of sufficient new information.

    In May of this year, the New York Times published an article quoting the trial judge, Shira Scheindlin, as saying the 25-year prison sentence she imposed on Bout in 2012 for his November 2011 conviction was excessive. The public admission by Scheindlin, made as she was about to retire, has given the defense renewed hope for at least a resentencing for their client.

    Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 in a joint operation between Thai and US authorities, who accused him of conspiring to kill Americans by allegedly agreeing to supply Colombian militants with weapons. Russia’s Foreign Ministry asserts that the case has been politicized and has called on Washington to release the Russian citizen.

    Related:

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