Former FBI Informant Accused of Lying About President Biden’s Son Denied Release

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that a former FBI informant, Smirnov, accused of lying about President Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma, will remain in custody pending trial. The judge expressed concerns that Smirnov might flee the jurisdiction while awaiting trial on charges of obstructing justice and lying to federal agents.

During the hearing, Smirnov’s defense team offered to hire private security and rent a home in Los Angeles to address concerns about his potential escape. However, Judge Otis Wright II remained unconvinced and stated that he was not satisfied that any combination of conditions would prevent Smirnov from fleeing.

Smirnov, who was charged on February 14, had falsely claimed to his longtime FBI handler that an executive at Burisma had arranged for payments of $5 million each to President Biden and his son. These accusations, made public by Republican lawmakers, have become a central element in the push to impeach President Biden and tarnish his family with corruption allegations.

Federal agents arrested Smirnov on February 15 at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas as he was returning from overseas. Prosecutors have repeatedly emphasized the risk of Smirnov fleeing the U.S. to escape prosecution and argued for his continued detention.

Last week, Smirnov was briefly released from custody after a federal magistrate judge in Las Vegas found that sufficient conditions could be imposed to ensure he would not flee. However, he was rearrested shortly after at his lawyer’s office under a new warrant from Judge Wright.

Smirnov’s defense team objected to the accusation that they were assisting their client in fleeing the country and filed an emergency petition with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The petition was denied, allowing Judge Wright to evaluate whether Smirnov should remain in custody.

In an attempt to secure his release before trial, Smirnov’s attorneys proposed various conditions, including house arrest, the appointment of a third party to oversee his bank accounts, and a guarantee from the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles that they would not issue another passport to Smirnov. Prosecutors highlighted Smirnov’s ease of obtaining a new passport from Israel, where he is also a citizen, which could facilitate his escape.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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