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Former FBI informant accused of fabricating allegations against the Biden family goes on trial

2024-02-26 16:45:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Former FBI informant accused of fabricating allegations against the Biden family

LOS ANGELES – A former FBI informant accused of fabricating a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden's family is expected to appear in federal court in California on Monday as a judge considers whether to to remain in custody until his trial begins.

The office of special prosecutor David Weiss is asking U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II to keep the former informant in prison, alleging that Alexander Smirnov, who it says has ties to Russian intelligence, is likely to flee the country.

Another judge last week released Mr. Smirnov from custody and placed him on electronic monitoring, but Judge Wright ordered his arrest again after prosecutors asked to reconsider Mr. Smirnov's detention. In a written order, Judge Wright said efforts by Mr. Smirnov's lawyers to free him "are intended to facilitate his flight from the United States."

In an emergency petition to the Court of Appeal, Mr. Smirnov's lawyers said Judge Wright lacked the authority to order his serial arrest. The defense team also criticized what it described as "biased and prejudicial statements" by Judge Wright, who it also accuses of defaming the defense attorneys, who, according to the judge, were acting in violation of the rules by committing to the client's release. theirs.

The former informant Smirnov has been sued for providing false information to the FBI, claiming that Burisma company executives had paid $5 million each to Mr. Joe Biden and his son Hunter around 2015. The informant's claims are part of important part of Republican efforts in Congress to investigate the president and his family and were used to start the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

In trying to persuade the judge to keep Mr. Smirnov in custody, prosecutors said the man had reported to the FBI that he had contact with officials linked to Russian intelligence services. In court documents, prosecutors said last week that former informant Smirnov told investigators after his first arrest that officials linked to the Russian intelligence service were involved in the fabricated statement passed to the FBI about Mr. Hunter Biden. .

The indictment against former informant Smirnov, who holds American and Israeli citizenship, was filed by the same special prosecutor of the Department of Justice who filed another indictment against Mr. Hunter Biden for weapons possession and tax evasion.

Mr. Smirnov has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The defense team says they are seeking his bail because he has no prior convictions and has strong ties to keep him from leaving the United States, including his longtime girlfriend who lives in Las Vegas.

In his decision to release Mr. Smirnov last week and place him on electronic surveillance, Judge Daniel Albregts in Las Vegas said he was concerned about the risk of him having access to his funds that prosecutors calculated at $6 million, but stressed that federal rules oblige it to apply "less restrictive conditions" before the trial.

Mr. Smirnov has served as an FBI informant for more than a decade since he made the sensational allegations about the Biden family in June 2020. According to prosecutors, he was prejudiced against Mr. Joe Biden from when he was a presidential candidate . According to court documents, Mr. Smirnov entered into a business relationship with the Ukrainian company Burisma in 2017. So far, there is no evidence that Mr. Joe Biden has been corrupt or accepted bribes while he was acting as president or when he was vice president.

Although his identity was not made public before the indictment was announced, Mr. Smirnov's allegations are central to Republican efforts in Congress to investigate the president and his family and have helped spur what is now an impeachment inquiry. Biden. Republicans who are part of these investigations have asked the FBI for the unredacted list of allegations against the Biden family, although they admit that they are unable to prove whether they are true./ VOA

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