Ex-FBI Informant Charged Over ‘False Claims’ in Biden Bribery Probe Must Remain Jailed: Appeals Court

Ex-FBI Informant Charged Over ‘False Claims’ in Biden Bribery Probe Must Remain Jailed: Appeals Court
Alexander Smirnov (2nd R) leaves the courthouse in Las Vegas, on Feb. 20, 2024. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected efforts by lawyers to secure the release of former FBI agent Alexander Smirnov, who claimed that President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, engaged in a bribery scheme in Ukraine.

Lawyers for Mr. Smirnov had called on the California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court judge’s order that he stay behind bars ahead of his upcoming trial, which is scheduled to take place on April 23 in Los Angeles, CNN reports.

However, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled Wednesday that the lower court judge’s order was correct in concluding that the ex-FBI agent posed a flight risk.

There were no conditions of release that could reasonably assure he would not leave the country and would instead show up to court, the judges said.

Elsewhere, the appeals court denied a request by Mr. Smirnov’s lawyers that he be released temporarily so that he could undergo eye surgery for glaucoma.

In a statement, his attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld noted their client was out of custody and visiting the working office of his defense when he was rearrested and detained.

“He was not fleeing,” his lawyers said in an emailed statement.

Mr. Smirnov was initially arrested after flying into Reid International Airport in Las Vegas on Feb. 14 on the same day that a federal grand jury indicted him for allegedly making false statements to a government agent and falsifying records in a federal investigation.

That indictment came after Mr. Smirnov, who has been an FBI informant for 10 years, testified to Congress about the alleged dealings President Biden and his son had with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Smirnov’s Claims Were ‘Fabrications’

Mr. Smirnov had told his FBI handler in 2020 that Burisma hired the president’s son to “protect” the company “through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” and that executives at the company had paid both President Biden and Hunter Biden $5 million each around 2015.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), in announcing the indictment against Mr. Smirnov, said the claims he reported to his FBI handler in June 2020 “were fabrications.”

They further claimed that the former FBI agent “transformed his routine and unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against” President Biden “after expressing bias against” him and his presidential candidacy.”

Smirnov Had ‘Extensive’ Contacts With Foreign Intelligence Officials

Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma while his father was the U.S. vice president between January 2009 and January 2017.

According to the DOJ, when he was interviewed again by FBI agents in September 2023, Mr. Smirnov “repeated some of his false claims, changed his story as to other of his claims, and promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials.”

Mr. Smirnov appeared in court on Feb. 15 and was granted release from jail ahead of trial on the condition that he wears a GPS monitor.

However, he was then arrested for a second time later that month while meeting with his lawyers.

The former FBI agent, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.

In urging the court not to release him from jail ahead of his trial, prosecutors argued he had “extensive and extremely recent” contacts with foreign intelligence officials–including Russian intelligence–had made plans to leave the United States, and would meet with “multiple foreign intelligence agencies” that could aid in relocating him.

They further claimed his foreign intelligence official contacts were involved in passing a story to him about Hunter Biden.

Caden Pearson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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