Viktor Bout convicted in ‘arms smuggling’ case, may get life

Original link: RT

My live interview at the RT New York television studio approximately 2 hours after the Bout verdict was read at 2:01 pm EST, on Wednesday 2 November 2011.

A New York jury has convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout of trying to sell heavy weapons to a Colombian terror group. He could face from 25 years to life in prison.

Bout will be sentenced on February 8, 2012.

A federal jury in New York City reached the verdict on Wednesday. Bout has been convicted of seeking to make millions of dollars in a proposed deal with a terror group enabling it to attack what prosecutors said he told his customers was a common enemy, namely the US forces helping the Colombian government.

Viktor Bout's dfense attorney Albert Dayan speaks to the media after the verdict.

The jury had been deliberating since Tuesday in a federal court in Manhattan. The arms dealer was convicted of conspiracy to kill US citizens, including US officials, to deliver anti-aircraft missiles and aid a terrorist organization.

Defense attorney Kenneth Kaplan says it was a tough case.”We’re disappointed, obviously,” he is quoted as saying by AP. The defense has said that Bout will appeal against the verdict. That can be done until December, 2.

Investigative journalist George Mapp at RT's New York television studio.

George Mapp, an investigative journalist who’s been following the case, says Victor Bout was too shocked to react to the news.

”The case against Victor Bout for all practical purposes is a case closed. After the jury was dismissed, Victor Bout stood there as if he was in shock. He didn’t react in any way – as if he was lifeless. He didn’t even turn around to face anybody,” he said.