Former FBI Informant Charged with Fabricating Bribery Scheme Involving President Biden’s Family Faces Detention Hearing

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former FBI informant accused of orchestrating a false bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden’s family is scheduled to appear in a California federal court today. The hearing will determine whether Alexander Smirnov, who claims to have connections to Russian intelligence, should remain in custody while awaiting trial.

Special counsel David Weiss is urging U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II to keep Smirnov behind bars, citing concerns that he may attempt to flee the country. Last week, a different judge released Smirnov on electronic GPS monitoring, but he was re-arrested following prosecutors’ request for reconsideration. Judge Wright argued that Smirnov’s release would likely lead to his escape from the United States.

Smirnov’s defense team has filed an emergency petition with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that Judge Wright exceeded his authority by ordering the re-arrest. They also criticized the judge’s alleged biased remarks insinuating improper behavior by Smirnov’s lawyers.

The charges against Smirnov involve his false claim that executives from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid President Biden and his son Hunter Biden $5 million each in 2015. This claim played a pivotal role in the Republican impeachment inquiry of President Biden. Prosecutors argue that Smirnov should remain incarcerated due to his reported contact with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence.

It is worth noting that Smirnov, who holds dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship, is also facing gun and tax charges filed by the Justice Department special counsel in relation to Hunter Biden. His defense attorneys have highlighted his lack of criminal history and strong ties to the United States as reasons to support his release.

In a previous ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts expressed concern about Smirnov’s access to an estimated $6 million in funds but ultimately released him on GPS monitoring. The judge cited federal guidelines that prioritize “the least restrictive conditions” before trial.

The explosive allegations made by Smirnov in 2020, which began after he expressed bias against Joe Biden as a presidential candidate, have fueled Republican efforts to investigate the president and his family. These allegations have also played a role in the House impeachment inquiry against Biden. However, there is no evidence to support claims of corruption or bribery on the part of President Biden.

As the legal proceedings continue, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be for Alexander Smirnov and the impact it will have on the ongoing investigations involving the Bidens.