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Former Informant Accused of Falsely Claiming Biden Ties and Russian Contacts

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A former F.B.I. informant accused of making false bribery claims about President Biden and his son Hunter, has recently come under scrutiny after it was revealed that the informant, Alexander Smirnov, 43, claimed to have been fed information by Russian intelligence. These claims, which were outlined in a court filing on Tuesday, paint a disturbing picture of a man who has been accused of spreading misinformation and lies about the Bidens.

Prosecutors have portrayed Smirnov as a serial liar, incapable of telling the truth about even the most basic details of his own life. They have accused him of spreading false claims about the Bidens and of misleading prosecutors about his own wealth and occupation. In addition, Smirnov has claimed that he had contacts with Russian intelligence officials, raising concerns about potential ties to foreign entities and the impact on U.S. elections.

The memo filed by prosecutors describes Smirnov as a “human hall of mirrors,” suggesting that he has a history of feeding the FBI with bogus information and peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections. This includes a claim that he met with Russian intelligence officials in November and had knowledge of intercepted phone calls made by guests at a hotel overseas, potentially involving prominent U.S. persons that the Russian government may use as “kompromat” in the 2024 election.

This case is particularly unusual due to the political implications surrounding the false claims made by Smirnov. The allegations, which were widely promoted by congressional Republicans as a justification for their now-stalled effort to impeach Mr. Biden, have now been revealed as fabrications motivated by Smirnov’s animosity towards the President.

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What makes this situation even more concerning is the fact that Smirnov was previously a confidential informant for the FBI, and the agency has been willing to publicly acknowledge the false claims made by him. This has raised questions about the vetting process for informants and the potential impact on national security.

In light of these revelations, Hunter Biden’s legal team has filed motions in federal court, arguing that the arrest of Smirnov has tainted the public’s perception of their client, making a fair trial impossible. They have accused the special counsel, David C. Weiss, of following “Mr. Smirnov down his rabbit hole of lies.”

Overall, the case involving Smirnov and the false claims he made about the Bidens raises questions about the credibility of informants and the potential impact of misinformation on high-profile political cases. It highlights the need for thorough vetting of sources and the importance of verifying information before it is used to fuel political agendas. As the investigation into this matter continues, it remains to be seen how it will impact future cases and the public’s trust in the legal system.

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Understanding the Jury Selection Process for Trump’s Manhattan Criminal Case

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Follow our live coverage of Trump’s hush money trial.

The upcoming jury selection for Donald J. Trump’s Manhattan criminal case has garnered significant attention as it involves the trial of a former U.S. president. On Monday morning in Manhattan, hundreds of New Yorkers will report for jury duty in what will be a historic and unprecedented event. The process of jury selection in this high-profile case will be meticulous and crucial, as both the defense and prosecution teams aim to select 12 jurors and several alternates who are impartial and unbiased.

The prospective jurors will face intense scrutiny as they are questioned about their beliefs, opinions, and potential biases that could impact the trial’s outcome. This highly anticipated trial has generated buzz and attracted widespread media attention, with the former president expected to attend various sessions.

Here’s a detailed look at what to expect during the jury selection process:

The jury pool consists of Manhattan residents, and both the prosecution and defense teams will spend the next few days or weeks gathering information about the potential jurors to assess their suitability for the trial.

Since New York State laws prohibit fully anonymous juries, the jurors’ names will be known to all parties involved, including the former president, and their addresses will be accessible to the lawyers. However, the public may not be privy to this information, as the judge in the case has granted the prosecutors’ request to keep the jurors’ identities confidential.

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After being briefed on the allegations, potential jurors will be questioned by Justice Juan M. Merchan about their ability to remain impartial and committed to the trial. They will also be asked about any scheduling conflicts that could hinder their full participation throughout the trial, which is anticipated to last over six weeks. Those expressing concerns may be excused from the jury pool.

The remaining jurors will undergo a standard set of inquiries, disclosing details about their professions, education, and personal lives. They will also reveal their sources of news, media consumption habits, and any prior exposure to materials related to the case, such as books authored by Trump or his associate, Michael D. Cohen.

Additionally, jurors will be asked about their involvement in political activities, opinions on the treatment of Trump in the case, but not their specific voting history, political affiliations, or contributions.

Both Trump’s legal team and the district attorney’s prosecutors can challenge prospective jurors based on specific reasons suggesting bias or partiality. The judge ultimately decides on these challenges, and each side also has opportunities to dismiss jurors without providing explanations. Following these evaluations, Justice Merchan will finalize the jury selection with the remaining qualified individuals.

Given Mr. Trump’s engagement in past trials, he is likely to play an active role in the jury selection process. However, he is restricted by a gag order issued by Justice Merchan, prohibiting him from publicly commenting on the jurors or revealing their identities. Despite his keen interest in the selection process, his interactions with the jurors will be confined to the courtroom.

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