Appeals court rejects new trial for Bout

A federal appeals court in New York has turned down Viktor Bout’s second attempt at winning a new trial. The denial left Bout’s wife and Russian officials appealing to the U.S. government — most likely the incoming Trump administration — to return the convicted arms dealer to Russia.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Second Court of Appeals in New York turned down arguments by Bout’s lawyers that he deserved a new trial because federal prosecutors and the judge overseeing his 2011 trial relied on testimony from a government witness who began cooperating with the U.S. before Bout was arrested as part of a string operation in Thailand.

After Bout’s conviction, the trial judge later turned down Bout’s first attempt at winning a new trial. The judge, now-retired U.S. District Judge Shira Schendlin, sentenced Bout to 25 years in federal prison. He is serving that term in a medium-security prison in Marion, Ill.

“We conclude the district court did not exceed the bounds of its broad discretion in denying Bout’s motion,” the court ruled.

The panel’s decision leaves Bout with few options other than to appeal to the incoming Trump administration. Trump and his prospective national security adviser, Michael Flynn, have talked openly about trying to improve relations with the Russian government.

Wall Street Journal: “A federal appeals court in Manhattan on Monday denied Mr. Bout’s bid for a new trial, limiting his hopes of overturning his 2011 conviction”