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Charged with lying to officials, FBI informant in Hunter Biden Ukraine case released, awaits hearing

Katelyn Newberg, Las Vegas Review-Journal on

Published in Political News

LAS VEGAS — A federal judge in Las Vegas on Tuesday ordered the release of an FBI informant charged with lying to officials about an alleged multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.

Alexander Smirnov, 43, who was arrested last week at Harry Reid International Airport, will remain under electronic monitoring while he awaits a hearing in California federal court on an indictment charging him with making a false statement to federal agents and creating a false and fictitious record.

In ordering Smirnov’s release, U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts told him: “Do not make a mockery of me.”

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Smirnov was a flight risk with ties to multiple foreign intelligence agencies, including Russia.

“There is a serious risk the defendant will flee and a serious risk the defendant will obstruct justice,” federal prosecutor Leo Wise said.

Albregts said that prosecutors failed to establish that restrictive release conditions would not be enough to ensure Smirnov appears in court. He also denied a request from Wise to delay his decision until prosecutors can appeal in a California federal court.

 

The judge told Smirnov he must seek employment and will not be allowed to travel outside of Clark County, or go near the Harry Reid International Airport, unless he has a scheduled court hearing in California. Smirnov, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, was also ordered to give up both his passports, and cannot request a new Israeli passport, Albregts said.

Smirnov left the courtroom on Tuesday surrounded by a handful of supporters. He hid his face under a hood, wore sunglasses and refused to speak with reporters following Tuesday’s hearing.

Local defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld are representing Smirnov.

“We are pleased that he is being released, and we look forward to defending the case,” Chesnoff told reporters following Tuesday’s hearing.

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