MOSCOW, December 8 - RAPSI, Vladimir Yaduta. A U.S. court has appointed a new defense attorney for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced in the United States to 20 years in prison for attempted drugs smuggling and appealed his sentence, according to the documents made available to the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
Tina Schneider from Portland has been appointed to represent Yaroshenko in court. The court has yet to decide who will pay the attorney for her services.
Yaroshenko's defense attorney Steve Zissou told the court in November that Yaroshenko could no longer pay his defense counsel and other expenses related to the trial. Zissou also said Yaroshenko requested the court to appoint a new counsel for him due to his financial troubles.
Yaroshenko was arrested alongside Chigbo Peter Umeh in Liberia in May 2010. Soon after, they were extradited to the United States. Umeh was sentenced to 30 years in prison on July 28, while Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted drugs smuggling. He appealed his sentence in September.
Two other defendants in the case from Ghana, Nathaniel French and Kudufia Mawuko, were acquitted by the jury.
Yaroshenko faced the court on June 1, 2010. He hired a defense counsel several months later after his relatives sold his real estate in Russia, Zissou said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office maintains that Yaroshenko agreed to transfer four tonnes of cocaine from South America to Africa and then to the United States. In May 2010, he arrived to Liberia allegedly to discuss the cost of his services with his Colombian partners.
Yaroshenko was offered $4.5 million for trafficking the cocaine from Venezuela to Liberia and another $1.8 million for trafficking drugs to Nigeria and then to Ghana. From Ghana, some drugs were to be transferred to the United States.