731 F.3d 233 (2nd Cir. 2013), 12-1487-cr, United States v. Bout
|Citation:||731 F.3d 233|
|Party Name:||UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Viktor BOUT, also known as Victor Anatoliyevich Bout, also known as Viktor Bulakin, also known as Viktor Butt, also known as Vadim Markovich Aminov, also known as Viktor Budd, also known as Victor But, also known as Boris, Defendant-Appellant.|
|Attorney:||Albert Y. Dayan, Law Office of Albert Y. Dayan, Kew Gardens, NY, for Appellant Viktor Bout. Anjan Sahni, Assistant United States Attorney (Brendan R. McGuire, Michael A. Levy, Assistant United States Attorneys, on the brief), for Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of ...|
|Judge Panel:||Before CABRANES, HALL, and CHIN, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||September 27, 2013|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit|
Argued: Aug. 22, 2013.
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Defendant-appellant Viktor Bout, a reputed international arms trafficker, was arrested following an innovative international sting operation directed by American law-enforcement agents across three continents. Following lengthy proceedings abroad, Bout was extradited to stand trial in the United States. He was convicted, following a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Shira A. Scheindlin, Judge ), of: (1) conspiracy to kill United States nationals, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332(b); (2) conspiracy to kill United States officers and employees, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1114 and 1117; (3) conspiracy to acquire and export a missile system designed to destroy aircraft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2332g1; and (4) conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B.
On appeal, Bout raises a number of claims, including that: (1) the government's conduct constituted an outrageous or vindictive prosecution in violation of his constitutional right to due process of law; (2) his extradition was illegal because it was the consequence of " intense, coercive political pressure exerted by the United States" ; (3) his prosecution violated the " doctrine of specialty" ; and (4) the indictment insufficiently stated the offenses listed in Counts One and Two.
We find no merit to any of defendant's claims, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of conviction of the District Court and remand the cause for the limited purpose of correcting a clerical error in the judgment.
Bout has long been regarded by the United States government as a dangerous and powerful international arms trafficker, and his illicit arms pipeline has repeatedly been designated for sanctions by United States and United Nations authorities. The Drug Enforcement Administration (" DEA" ) initiated an international sting operation against Bout in late 2007 with the assistance of three confidential sources (" CSs" ). Two of the CSs posed as representatives of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the " FARC" ),
a Colombian entity and longtime revolutionary organization seeking the violent overthrow of the Colombian government. The FARC, which has been designated by the United States government as a foreign terrorist organization, is also one of the world's largest cocaine suppliers and has directed violent acts toward American personnel and property.
On January 10 and 11, 2008, the three CSs met with Andrew Smulian, a former colleague of Bout, on the island of Curaç ao, in the Caribbean, to discuss the possibility of a multimillion-dollar weapons transaction supposedly in order to aid the FARC in its fight against the Colombian government and the United States. Following the meetings in Curaç ao, Smulian visited Bout in Moscow, where they discussed the weapons order in greater detail. Bout then directed Smulian to meet the CSs to continue discussions, which later occurred over a period of two weeks in Romania. Smulian, on behalf of Bout,2 told the CSs that 100 surface-to-air (" SAM" ) missiles were available immediately, and that Bout could provide additional equipment and advice if needed.
On March 5, 2008, Bout met with Smulian and the three CSs about the weapons deal at a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. During recorded conversations, Bout repeatedly supported the FARC's intention to use his weapons to kill American pilots stationed in Colombia.3 On March 6, 2008, Thai authorities arrested both Bout and Smulian in Bangkok. Less than a month later, while Bout was still in Thailand, a grand jury sitting in the Southern District of New York returned an indictment against him. In August 2009, a lower court in Thailand denied Bout's extradition to the United States, but that decision was reversed by an appellate court in August 2010.
Bout was extradited to the United States on November 16, 2010, and his trial began on October 11, 2011. After a three-week trial, the jury found Bout guilty on all four counts of the indictment, and on April 5, 2012, Judge Scheindlin sentenced him to concurrent terms of 180 months' imprisonment on Counts One, Two, and Four and 300 months' imprisonment on Count Three.
This timely appeal followed.
On appeal, Bout raises a number of claims...
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