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Russian Actor, Kremlin Critic Yefremov Pleads Not Guilty In Deadly DUI Case

Mikhail Yefremov (file photo)

Russian actor and outspoken Kremlin critic Mikhail Yefremov pleaded not guilty to killing a person while driving under the influence as his high-profile trial started in Moscow on August 5.

"I cannot plead guilty because I do not remember anything," Yefremov told the court on August 5.

If convicted, Yefremov, who in recent years has been criticizing the Kremlin in his one-man performances, may face up to 12 years in prison.

Police say Yefremov was inebriated when he drove his car at high speed into an oncoming lane in central Moscow on the evening of June 8, hitting another car.

Yefremov did not suffer any injuries in the accident, but the driver of the other vehicle, identified as 57-year-old Sergei Zakharov, was rushed to hospital with multiple injuries and died hours later.

After Zakharov was pronounced dead, Yefremov was charged with "causing a deadly traffic accident while driving under the influence" and later placed under house arrest.

Authorities later said that medical tests confirmed that Yefremov had traces of drugs, including cocaine, in his blood at the moment of the accident.

Performances by the 56-year-old Yefremov satirizing President Vladimir Putin and his policies have been very popular in recent years.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax