NEW YORK – A prosecutor says the U.S. government targeted a notorious Russian arms dealer dubbed the Merchant of Death because he was a "clear and present danger" to Americans.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anjan Sahni (AHN'-john SAH'-nee) told a three-judge federal appeals panel Thursday that the evidence was overwhelming against Viktor Bout (BOOT). Bout is serving a 25-year prison term after he was convicted of four conspiracy charges relating to his support of a Colombian terrorist organization.
Bout's defense lawyers have challenged his conviction, saying he was tricked by the government in a sting operation into making anti-U.S. statements. The appeals judges did not seem receptive to the arguments.
Bout was held in Thailand for four years before he was extradited to the U.S. in 2010. The appeals panel did not immediately rule.