Reading of Khodorkovsky’s Verdict May Conclude Soon
Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyers are optimistic that the reading of his verdict will be over before too long, though judges have not indicated when it will be finished.
There are reportedly hundreds of pages of the verdict left to be read, but the judges picked up the pace at which they read them today compared to last week.
“The sentencing could be over with by the end of the week if the judges continue to read the sentence out at the rate seen today,” said defense lawyer Genrikh Pavda.
“The sentencing process has changed a lot today. The judges were reading out the sentence for 35-40 minutes and took short breaks three times on Friday, but today the sentence was being read out for 2.5 hours without pauses,” added Padva.
The defense lawyers were starting to get irritated last week, as the reading was only lasting 3 hours a day. They complained that it is unlawful for the court sessions to end so early rather than after a full work day.
Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky along with his business partner Platon Lebedev is on trial for 11 counts of fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion. Many believe that Khodorkovsky is just the target of a Kremlin campaign to sabotage his political agenda, but the Kremlin denies this theory.
Khodorkovsky was arrested about a year and a half ago while Yukos was being investigated. Lebedev was arrested three months before that. The charges that both face have to do with the privatization of a fertilizer-component company in 1994.
Last week, Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Genrikh Padva was quoted as saying, “The court has established guilt on all charges.” Today, however, the defense is saying that there is a lack of incriminating evidence.
“We’ve yet to see anything actually refer to evidence that directly connects them, and I think that’s just again incredibly important,” said defense lawyer, Robert Amsterdam.
The prosecution wants Khodorkovsky to be sentenced a maximum of 10 years. The defense is seeking to get him completely acquitted from any charges.