The U.S. lawyer for Viktor Bout, the former Soviet Air Force officer charged by U.S. authorities with trying to sell weapons to a terrorist group, has told a New York judge that Bout never had anything to do with weapons sales.
Attorney Albert Dayan said at a pretrial hearing in Manhattan on August 17 that there was no evidence that Viktor Bout was a weapons dealer, and that Bout had never sold arms.
Questioned by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, the lawyer described Bout as having worked in the "air transportation business."
Bout, 44, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he offered to sell arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces Of Colombia, which is officially regarded as a narco-terrorist group by the U.S. government, and conspiring to kill U.S. citizens.
If convicted, he could face a mandatory minimum of 25 years in U.S. prison.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 in a U.S.-led operation and was extradited to the United States last November.
Russia tried, but failed to prevent his extradition
compiled from agency reports