The federal judge who oversaw Viktor Bout’s 2011 trial has warned the convicted Russian arms dealer’s new lawyers that they have only one last extension to turn up evidence in their quest for a new trial.
U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin told Bout’s lawyers in a short written order earlier this month that they have until July 27 to file a motion for a new trial.
“No further extensions will be granted for any reason,” Scheindlin wrote in her May 4 order. “Defendant’s counsel may not write or call chambers to seek a further extension.”
Last December, a Houston attorney who is a member of Bout’s new legal team asked for more time before filing a new trial motion. The lawyer, Alexey Tarasov, said in court papers at the time that Bout’s legal team was looking into the death of a Thai police official who had said he could provide new information in the Bout case.
The official, Thai Police Col. Akrawut Limrat, had agreed to meet with investigators for Bout’s legal team but turned up dead with spinal fractures days before the meeting was supposed to take place. Limrat had overseen Bout’s extradition to U.S. authorities in 2010 after the Russian’s 2008 arrest on conspiracy charges in Bangkok. But in the weeks before his death, Thai prosecutors had removed Limrat and several other police from their posts and later charged them with state crimes in a growing bribery and money-laundering scandal.
As Bout’s legal team has continued to work on the case, his lawyers have asked for several extensions from the judge. If the Bout team intends to file a new trial, they will have to act by July 27.
Bout is serving a 25-year sentence at a federal medium-security prison in Marion, Ill. for his 2011 conviction on conspiracy charges.