Viktor Bout in Federal Court this Week; Requests Continuance and Improved Prison Conditions

Alleged Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, is back in federal court this week requesting additional time to prepare his defense strategy since acquiring new U.S. counsel. On Thursday, March 3, the judge will rule on a motion for continuance regarding the already approved court dates. Bout’s trial is set to begin September 12, 2011, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York.

Just a few weeks ago, Bout expressed disapproval regarding his court appointed federal defense attorney. Bout has since retained new counsel, Albert Dayan, that must review the case and develop a defense strategy before trial. The amount of time Bout’s new counsel will ask for depends on the complexity of the issues involved. The federal judge has discretion whether to grant the motion and set a new trial date, or deny the motion and keep the present schedule.

Bout has also requested the court for improved prison conditions. Bout is being held in a high-security bloc of a New York prison while awaiting trial. Bout has pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against him. If convicted, Bout faces a prison term from 25 years to life sentence.

Dayan says strict prison conditions, under which Bout is allowed to communicate only through a glass panel, make it impossible to discuss the case properly and violate Bout’s right for defense.

Bout’s wife earlier complained that her husband, a vegetarian, did not get proper food and his menu did not comply with the prescribed medicine that he has been taking for the last two months.

The former Soviet military officer was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents. He was extradited to the United States in November last year after spending more than two and half years behind bars.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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