The New York Times on March 28, 2012 released the following:
“By BENJAMIN WEISER
Updated 11:30 a.m. | Viktor Bout, a former Soviet Air Force officer who was convicted in November of conspiring to sell anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons to men he believed were terrorists intending to kill Americans, apparently believes that he does not deserve the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years — or any sentence, for that matter.
Mr. Bout’s lawyer has filed court papers asking a judge to refuse to sentence him next week in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
The lawyer, Albert Y. Dayan, argued in a 14-page memorandum filed on Wednesday morning that Mr. Bout’s prosecution by the United States government was “the product of malice” and “private politics” stemming from “the then White House,” a reference to the Bush administration; Mr. Bout was taken into custody in Thailand in March 2008, and later sent to the United States.
His arrest followed a lengthy undercover sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which relied on cooperating informants who posed as members of the Colombian terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC.
Under the law, Mr. Bout faces at least 25 years behind bars when he is to be sentenced on April 5, but Mr. Dayan, calling his client innocent and saying that his prosecution was the product of “outrageous, inexcusable” government conduct, called such a sentence “way too much under the facts and circumstances of this case.”
He asked that the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, dismiss the indictment. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office had no comment.
After a three-week trial, Mr. Bout was convicted of conspiring to kill American nationals, as well as officers and employees of the United States; to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles (the count that carries the mandatory 25-year minimum term); and to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He could face up to life in prison on some counts.
In February, Judge Scheindlin did agree to a request by his lawyer that Mr. Bout be transferred from solitary confinement into the general prisoner population in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he had been held for 15 months.
The judge, who held a hearing into the matter, ruled that she could not “shirk my duty under the Constitution” and Supreme Court precedent “to ensure that Bout’s confinement is not arbitrary and excessively harsh.””
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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