Former FBI Informant Indicted for Lying About Biden Family Corruption Ordered To Stay in Prison Until Trial

Alexander Smirnov is deemed a flight risk by a federal judge in California.

Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
Alexander Smirnov, second from right, leaves a courthouse at Las Vegas last month. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP

The former FBI informant indicted for lying about the Biden family’s alleged corruption in Ukraine will be detained in a California jail until his trial, a federal judge has ruled. 

Judge Otis Wright said in a court order unsealed Friday that the former informant, Alexander Smirnov, would likely be “absconding from the United States” if released on bail pending his trial. 

“Defendant has been indicted by a grand jury sitting in the Central District of California,” Judge Wright says. “He was promptly brought before a magistrate judge who, while agreeing that the government had established a probability of Defendant fleeing the jurisdiction, but disagreeing that no conditions nor combination of conditions could be fashioned to assure his appearance for trial.”

Judge Wright granted the prosecution’s request to re-arrest Mr. Smirnov due to the flight risk. 

Mr. Smirnov admitted in federal court that he had been fed the story that both Hunter Biden and President Biden received $5 million in exchange for advancing the interests of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where the younger Mr. Biden sat on the board of directors. 

Mr. Smirnov was indicted by Special Counsel David Weiss — the same man prosecuting the first son — in February for making complete “fabrications” about those bribes. He did so, Mr. Weiss says, in part because he is a supporter of the previous president, Donald Trump.

“Despite repeated admonishments that he must provide truthful information to the FBI and that he must not fabricate evidence, the Defendant provided false derogatory information to the FBI about Public Official One, an elected official in the Obama-Biden Administration who left office in January 2017, and Businessperson One, the son of Public Official One, in 2020, after Public Official One became a candidate for President of the United States of America,” Mr. Weiss’s office writes. 

Mr. Smirnov appeared in a Las Vegas courtroom last week and, over the government’s objections, was released prior to trial on condition that he submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his American and Israeli passports. On Wednesday, Mr. Weiss’s office asked Judge Wright to throw Mr. Smirnov back in jail.  

Mr. Weiss’s office announced in a court filing last week that Mr. Smirnov admitted on the day of his arrest that the bribe story was actually first pitched to him by Russian intelligence officers. “During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” about the younger Mr. Biden. 


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