Federal Court Denies Release of Former FBI Informant in Biden Bribery Scheme Case

A federal appeals court has denied a former FBI informant's bid for release, citing flight risk concerns, in a case involving fabricated bribery allegations against President Joe Biden's family. Alexander Smirnov, who pleaded not guilty, will remain behind bars while awaiting trial.

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Nitish Verma
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Federal Court Denies Release of Former FBI Informant in Biden Bribery Scheme Case

Federal Court Denies Release of Former FBI Informant in Biden Bribery Scheme Case

A federal appeals court has rejected a bid to release Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI informant detention charged with fabricating a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme allegedly involving President Joe Biden's family. On Wednesday, the California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by Smirnov's lawyers to overturn a lower court judge's order that he remain behind bars while awaiting trial, citing flight risk concerns.

Why this matters: The outcome of this case has significant implications for the reliability of informant testimony and the FBI's vetting processes, which could impact future investigations and political scandals. The outcome of this case has significant implications for the reliability of informant testimony and the FBI's vetting processes, which could impact future investigations and political scandals. Moreover, the case's outcome may influence the public's perception of the Biden family and the political environment in the United States.

Smirnov was arrested in February on charges of falsely telling his FBI handler that executives from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma had paid President Biden and his son Hunter Biden $5 million each around 2015. The claim became central to the Republican impeachment inquiry of President Biden in Congress. Smirnov has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In their ruling, the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit concluded that Smirnov is a flight risk and that there are no conditions of release that would reasonably assure he shows up in court. The appeals court also denied Smirnov's request for temporary release to undergo eye surgery for glaucoma.

Smirnov's lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, vowed to further fight for his release. They argued that their client has no criminal history and that keeping him locked up will make it difficult for him to help his legal team prepare for trial. "Our client was out of custody and at our office working on his defense when he was rearrested and detained. He was not fleeing," said Chesnoff and Schonfeld in an emailed statement.

Prosecutors revealed that Smirnov has reported to the FBI having extensive contact with officials associated with Russian intelligence. They claimed that such officials were involved in passing a story to Smirnov about Hunter Biden. According to court documents, Smirnov had been an informant for more than a decade when he made the explosive allegations about the Bidens in June 2020, after "expressing bias" about Joe Biden as a presidential candidate.

Moving forward, Smirnov's lawyers can ask the full 9th Circuit to review the ruling or go directly to the Supreme Court in their ongoing efforts to secure his release. The outcome of this high-profile case involving a former FBI informant and allegations against the president's family could have significant implications, shedding light on the reliability of informant testimony, the FBI's vetting processes, and the potential impact of politically charged accusations on national politics.

Key Takeaways

  • Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI informant, remains detained on charges of fabricating a bribery scheme involving the Biden family.
  • The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Smirnov's request for release, citing flight risk concerns.
  • Smirnov claimed Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid President Biden and his son Hunter $5 million each in 2015.
  • Prosecutors revealed Smirnov had extensive contact with Russian intelligence officials, who allegedly passed a story about Hunter Biden.
  • The case's outcome may impact the reliability of informant testimony, FBI vetting processes, and public perception of the Biden family.