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Russian arms dealer Bout guilty on all charges

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has been found guilty on all counts by a jury in the Federal District Court of New York.

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has been found guilty on all counts by a jury in the Federal District Court of New York.

The jury unanimously agreed that Bout was guilty of conspiracy to kill Americans, to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles and to provide material support to terrorists.

The former Russian military officer denied all the charges against him.

The court will announce Bout's sentence on February 8. He could receive a life sentence.

As the judge announced the verdict, Bout sat silently. Before being led out of the courtroom, he hugged his lawyer Albert Dayan.

Another lawyer for Bout, Kenneth Kaplan, said the defense team was disappointed with the verdict but that they had done everything they could in Bout's defense.

The prosecution called seven witnesses during the trial, which began in New York on October 11. The defense did not call any witnesses and Bout did not take the stand.

His lawyers insisted that Bout, who used to be in the air cargo business, was trying to sell two planes, not weapons, when he discussed an arms deal in Thailand with two undercover U.S. agents posing as members of the Colombian rebel group FARC.

But prosecutors charged that Bout intended to sell the group at least 100 surface-to-air missiles, 20,000 AK-47s, and 10 million rounds of ammunition.

Bout's wife, Alla said that her husband was prepared for a guilty verdict, but had hoped to be acquitted on some of the charges. “He hoped for acquittal on some counts or for a hung jury…I think that Moscow should take up this issue,” Alla Bout said.

Russian Vice-Consul Alexander Otchainov, who regularly visited Bout in prison, said that Russia would continue to support him.

Russian State Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky dismissed the verdict as “a typical American propaganda ploy.”

“They made Bout out to be some kind of evil genius,” said Slutsky, a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR).

Slutsky, who is the first deputy chairman of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said the entire history of the case, from the sting operation that snared Bout to his extradition from Thailand and trial in the U.S., was clearly prejudicial.

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