Ex-FBI Informant Charged Over ‘False Information’ Linked to Biden Bribery Probe Rearrested After Release

Ex-FBI Informant Charged Over ‘False Information’ Linked to Biden Bribery Probe Rearrested After Release

Former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, center, leaves the courthouse in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Caden Pearson

Caden Pearson

2/22/2024

Updated: 2/22/2024

The ex-FBI informant who claimed the Biden family engaged in a bribery scheme in Ukraine was rearrested on Thursday, according to a court filing.
Alexander Smirnov was arrested for a second time for making false statements to a government agent and falsifying records in a federal investigation—the exact same charges as his first arrest—while he was attending a morning meeting with his lawyers after prosecutors appealed a judge’s ruling that had allowed him to be released with a GPS monitor ahead of his trial.
“It should further be noted that the fact that the Defendant was attending a legal consultation meeting at his attorneys’ office contradicts the notion that he is a risk of flight. It also highlights the interference with his cherished Sixth Amendment rights,” Mr. Smirnov’s lawyers, David Cheznoff and Richard Schonfeld wrote in the filing.
The attorneys asked for an immediate detention hearing and for Mr. Smirnov to be released on previously imposed conditions. They argued the second arrest was against statute provisions for review and appeal of detention orders.
Mr. Cheznoff and Mr. Schonfeld asserted that this arrest undermines the court’s denial of the government’s previous request for a stay of the release order.
The second arrest comes a week after Mr. Smirnov was arrested at Reid International Airport in Las Vegas after arriving from abroad on Feb. 14, the same day that a federal grand jury indicted him.
Mr. Smirnov, a former FBI informant, testified to Congress about the dealings that President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, had with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Prosecutors argued on Tuesday that Mr. Smirnov should be detained because he admitted upon his first arrest that he received information concerning Hunter Biden from sources linked to Russian intelligence.
“During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about Businessperson 1,” the Department of Justice’s filing reads. In the DOJ’s filings, Businessperson 1 refers to Hunter Biden, and Public Official 1 refers to President Biden.
Mr. Smirnov has been an FBI informant for 10 years, having almost daily contact with its agents, according to a DOJ filing.
In 2020, he told the FBI that Burisma hired the president’s son to “protect” the company “through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” and that both President Biden and Hunter Biden received $5 million.
The DOJ’s indictment asserts that these statements were “fabrications.”
Last September, Mr. Smirnov “pushed a new story” about the president and his son during a meeting with his FBI handlers, according to prosecutors. However, the DOJ’s filing did not suggest that the initial allegations of bribery came from Russian intelligence sources.
This turn in the case came as special counsel David Weiss argued on Tuesday that Mr. Smirnov was a flight risk and should be kept behind bars while awaiting trial. The prosecutors said in their filing that Mr. Smirnov had made plans to leave the United States and would meet with “multiple foreign intelligence agencies” that could relocate him.
Mr. Smirnov appeared in court on Feb. 15 and was granted release from jail ahead of a trial on certain conditions on the orders of U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts during a hearing on Feb. 20. The conditions of his release included that he wear a GPS monitor, surrender his passports, and remain in Clark County, Nevada, where he is also to seek employment.
Prosecutors challenged his release on Feb. 21, asking U.S. District Judge Otis Wright to send him back to jail. They argued that he had the means to obtain a new passport and flee the country.
“Pretrial supervision is, at its core, based on trust. … The circumstances of the offenses charged—that Smirnov lied to his FBI Handler after a 10-year relationship where the two spoke nearly every day—means that Smirnov cannot be trusted to provide truthful information to Pretrial Services,” prosecutors argued.
House Democrats have said it shows the allegations are baseless Russian disinformation, while Republicans have said the revelations won’t impact their impeachment probe into President Biden.
In comments to The Epoch Times, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the revelations mean the impeachment probe “essentially ended.”
“It appears like the whole thing is not only obviously false and fraudulent but a product of Russian disinformation and propaganda. And that’s been the motor force behind this investigation for more than a year,” he said.
However, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) shrugged off concerns about the impact of Mr. Smirnov’s arrest, saying that the impeachment inquiry doesn’t rely on his accusations in the FBI document, FD-1023.
Last week, Mr. Comer pointed out that the FBI had previously refused to release an unredacted version of Mr. Smirnov’s claims as a confidential informant.
“The FBI had this form for years, and it appears they did nothing to verify the troubling claims contained within the record until Congress became aware of and demanded access to them,” Mr. Comer said. “To be clear, the impeachment inquiry is not reliant on the FBI’s FD-1023.”
Jackson Richmond, Joseph Lord, and Samantha Flom contributed to this report.
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Caden Pearson

Caden Pearson

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Caden Pearson is a reporter covering U.S. and world news.

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