The Southern District Court of New York denied Viktor Bout's motion to overturn the guilty verdict, passed by a jury in November. Lawyers for Bout claimed that a juror had been tainted by the Hollywood film Lord of War, depicting Bout as an anti-hero and illegal arms dealer.
It seemed lawyers were not disappointed with the first motion denial. They filed another motion, asking judge to set aside all or part of the conviction on the grounds that the indictment against Bout was poorly prepared.
The indictment says that Bout “conspired to kill US citizens”. Lawyers for Bout argue that the word “to kill” is inappropriate, because it does not imply “deliberate action”. What the jury in Bout’s trial deliberated on was Bout’s alleged deliberate murder, whereas the indictment contains different charges. Lawyers argue that the court sentenced Bout for charges that the jury had not, in fact, considered.
Another count of indictment is “conspiracy to kill US military personnel and officials”. The defence claim that the US citizens fighting on the side of the Colombian government against Farc are not necessarily US military personnel. It is not clear whether helicopters and other equipment used by US citizens in Colombia is a part of US armed forces. “US armed forces in Colombia de facto and probably de jure are Colombian armed forces”. “Viktor Bout’s trial serves Colombian military interest, not the interests of the US,” lawyers claim.
Russian side has already hinted that Moscow would not wait until the end of the debate in court. Konstantin Dolgov, Russia'a foreign ministry plenipotentiary on human rights issues, said Monday that Moscow would seek Viktor Bout's return to Russia in the nearest future. Kommersant daily quotes an unnamed source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that the preparatory work had already began. Russia has confirmed that the country considers asking US authorities to transfer Bout to Russia where he will serve the sentence. Such possibility is stipulated by the 1983 European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
Rumafia.com expects Russian authorities to file a transfer request after the judge will pronounce Bout's sentence on the 8 February 2012. Bout may faces a prison term from 25 years to life imprisonment.