Ex-U.S. Marine’s espionage trial begins in Russia under virus lockdown

He served in Iraq for several months in 2004 and 2006. Marine Paul Whelan on Monday. Marine Corps before being discharged in 2008 for bad conduct, according to the military. Embassy has been critical of Russia’s treatment of the prisoner, who’s being held in the notorious Lefortovo detention center and hasn’t been permitted to call his family since his arrest. Russian investigators claim he was caught red-handed after receiving a USB drive containing classified information. Marine accused of spying and arrested in Russia stands inside a defendants’ cage during a hearing at a court in Moscow on August 23, 2019. Marine Paul Whelan’s espionage trial begins in Russia under coronavirus lockdown

By Alexandra Odynova

April 13, 2020 / 8:24 AM
/ CBS News

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“Paul said that he believes he was framed and that [the case] was a provocation against him,” Karlova said, adding that her client appeared to be in good spirits.Whelan, 50, was arrested at a central Moscow hotel in December 2018. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan were barred from entering the court building due to the lockdown restrictions. man remains jailed on Russian spy charge

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The other defense attorney, Vladimir Zherebenkov, raised concerns over Whelan’s health. Press and U.S. Embassy doctor, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.The Monday hearing was held behind closed doors; the case has been declared classified by the Russian authorities. Ex-U.S. officials have repeatedly called for Whelan’s immediate release, and the U.S. Whelan’s family says he came to Russia to attend a friend’s wedding and believed the USB drive handed to him by an acquaintance contained vacation photos. First published on April 13, 2020 / 8:24 AM Paul Whelan, a former U.S. He spent 14 years in the U.S. The trial opened about two weeks later than originally planned due to strict coronavirus lockdown measures in place in the Russian capital. U.S. Whelan’s defense team requested a further postponement of the trial Monday, until the lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the disease is lifted, but the court ruled to reconvene in one week.Olga Karlova, one of Whelan’s defense attorneys, told CBS News that during the first hearing the prosecution formally presented its charges, and Whelan pleaded not guilty. The prosecution is expected to start presenting its evidence in the case and calling witnesses next week, the lawyers said.Whelan, who also holds British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of espionage.At the time of his arrest, Whelan was director of global security for Michigan-based automotive components supplier BorgWarner.