The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down a request that it review the 2011 criminal conviction of Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year prison term on conspiracy and other charges.
The Supreme Court issued its brief decision Monday, noting simply that it was denying a writ submitted by Bout’s lawyers.
The court’s decision to spurn a review of the case came after Russia’s government submitted a “friend of the court” brief to aid Bout’s legal team. The Russian government brief urged the judicial panel to agree to Bout’s request.
Bout’s lawyers argued in their own legal papers submitted to the court in February that Bout’s trial judge — and appeals judges who later upheld the verdict — ignored evidence showing that federal prosecutors hid exculpatory material from defense attorneys.
Although Bout’s lawyers have repeatedly mounted appeals aimed in recent years aimed at overturning his conviction, the Supreme Court’s decision appears to exhaust any remaining legal challenges, at least for the immediate future.
Russian officials have indicated they plan to press their case with the President Donald Trump, who has expressed an interest in warming relations between the U.S. and the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bout is serving out his term at the federal medium-security prison at Marion, Ill. He was convicted in November 2011 on four conspiracy counts stemming from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency sting operation. Bout told U.S. informants disguised as South American terrorist operatives that he could provide them with millions of dollars in anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons.
The Russian businessman was lured to Bangkok in March 2008 by the undercover informants, who were secretly working for a DEA strike team as part of a sting operation.
—U.S. Supreme Court docket page–Viktor Bout, aka Victor Anatoliyevich Bulakin, aka Viktor Butt. aka Vadim Markovich Aminov, aka Viktor Budd, aka Viktor But, Petitioner v. United States. Docketed February 23, 2017. Petition DENIED Apr 3 2017