Latest News 17-04-2024 00:01 10 Views

Trial for ex-FBI informant accused of fabricating Biden bribery story delayed until after 2024 election

The trial for Alexander Smirnov, the ex-FBI informant who has been charged with making false statements related to Joe Biden and Hunter Biden's business ties in Ukraine, has been delayed until early December, just weeks after the 2024 presidential election.

Smirnov's trial had been scheduled to begin in Los Angeles April 23, but special counsel David Weiss and Smirnov's defense attorneys filed a joint stipulation motion last week requesting additional time to prepare for the trial. 

Smirnov's attorneys said a failure to grant the time would 'deny them reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.' 

The motion also pointed to additional time necessary to bring classified material into discovery, noting they would have to go through the Classified Procedures Act.

U.S. District Judge Otis Wright, who is presiding over the trial, granted the request. 

Smirnov's trial is now scheduled to begin Dec. 3 at 9:30 a.m. 

Weiss charged Smirnov, 43, in February after he alleged Joe Biden and Hunter Biden were paid millions in exchange for their help in firing a Ukrainian prosecutor who was at the time investigating the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings. Hunter Biden sat on the board of that company when Shokin was removed from his post. 

Prosecutors have accused Smirnov of peddling lies 'that could impact U.S. elections,' highlighting his alleged lies about a supposed multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the Bidens and Burisma Holdings. 

Prosecutors say Smirnov falsely told his handler that Burisma executives paid Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter $5 million each around 2015. 

Smirnov pleaded not guilty to making a false statement. He is being held without bail after a judge denied his request for release.

Wright ordered that Smirnov remain in detention ahead of his trial in April, concurring with prosecutors who argued he presented a high flight risk. It is unclear whether Smirnov will remain in detention until December. 

Smirnov, a now-ex-FBI informant, had been described by the FBI as a 'highly credible' confidential human source and worked for the bureau for years, dating back to the Obama administration. Smirnov, through his work for the FBI, had been paid 'six figures,' the FBI told lawmakers. 

The FBI also told lawmakers that information Smirnov brought to the bureau was 'used in criminal investigations and prosecutions.' 

Top DOJ officials also testified that Smirnov 'was vetted against sources of Russian disinformation' and they found that information regarding the Bidens was 'not sourced from Russian disinformation.' 

But according to the indictment, Smirnov gave 'false derogatory information' to the FBI despite 'repeated admonishments that he must provide truthful information and that he must not fabricate evidence.' 

The indictment says Smirnov told an FBI agent in March 2017 that he had a phone call with Burisma’s owner concerning the firm potentially acquiring a U.S. company and making an initial public offering (IPO) on a U.S-based stock exchange. 

In reporting this conversation to the FBI agent, Smirnov said Hunter Biden was a board member of Burisma, though this was publicly known. 

Smirnov is accused of having told the FBI for the first time In June 2020 about two meetings he had four to five years earlier, where executives associated with Burisma supposedly admitted they hired Hunter Biden to 'protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.' 

During this meeting, the indictment alleges, Smirnov said the executives paid $5 million to each of the Bidens while Joe Biden was still in office. The indictment alleges Smirnov falsely claimed the Bidens were paid so that Hunter Biden, with his dad’s help, could take care of a criminal investigation being conducted by then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin into Burisma. 

The indictment alleges this information given by Smirnov in June 2020 was a fabrication. Prosecutors say Smirnov did have contact with Burisma executives in 2017, but when Joe Biden was out of public office and had no ability to influence U.S. policy and after the Ukrainian Prosecutor General had been fired in February 2016. 

The indictment alleges Smirnov transformed his 'routine and unextraordinary' business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later bribery allegations against Joe Biden after expressing bias against him and his presidential candidacy. 

Smirnov is accused of repeating some of his false claims during an interview with FBI agents in September 2023, while changing other bits of information and promoting a new false narrative after claiming to have met with Russian officials. 

If convicted, Smirnov faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.   

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley were approached by a whistleblower last summer who alleged the FBI was in possession of a document — an FD-1023 form, dated June 30, 2020 — which explicitly detailed information provided by a confidential source alleging Biden, while serving as vice president, was involved in a multimillion-dollar scheme with a foreign national in exchange for influence over policy decisions.

The source told Fox News Digital the confidential source was used by the FBI for 'at least several years,' dating back to the Obama administration, before the FD-1023 form, and was 'found to be highly credible' by the FBI. 

House Republicans demanded the FBI turn over the document, but FBI Director Christopher Wray refused a request from Comer and Grassley last summer for the public release of the form because the bureau 'claimed it would jeopardize the safety of a confidential human source who they claimed was invaluable to the FBI.' 

Wray was at risk of being held in contempt of Congress and eventually brought the FD-1023 form to Capitol Hill for House lawmakers to review in a secure location. 

Fox News Digital first reported on the contents of the document. 

An FD-1023 form is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting from confidential human sources. The form is used to document information as told to an FBI agent, but recording that information does not validate or weigh it against other information known by the FBI. 

Comer said the FBI's FD-1023 form is not being used in the impeachment inquiry against the president. 

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