At an off-site meeting of the Lyubertsy City Court, held in the Moscow Regional Court, the judicial investigation in the case of the former governor of the Khabarovsk Territory, Sergei Furgal, and his three alleged accomplices was completed. They are charged with two murders and an attempt in the early 2000s. The defendants made their last word, as before, pleaded not guilty and asked the jury for an acquittal. In addition, a questionnaire was drawn up for the jury, which included 32 questions. The verdict is expected to be announced on Thursday.
Even during the debate, the defendants spoke in the spirit that instead of making the last word, they would once again give their defenders an opportunity to speak. However, in the end, the defendants nevertheless decided to state their position to the jury on their own. It took them about three hours to do this.
The first, and this has already become a kind of tradition, was given the floor to Marat Kadyrov, who is accused of committing an attempt on the life of businessman Alexander Smolsky. The defendant again tried to convince the jury that the prosecution did not and does not have hard evidence of his involvement in the crime. Recall, according to investigators, Alexander Smolsky was a business competitor of the then entrepreneur Sergei Furgal. It is the disagreements between businessmen, the case says, that became the reason for the assassination attempt, which Mr. Kadyrov was ordered to carry out. He, according to the investigation, on June 28, 2004, threw two grenades at Mr. Smolsky, but one did not reach the target, and the second did not work.
Speaking to the jury, Mr. Kadyrov once again noted that the investigation considered evidence of his participation in the attempted testimony of a certain woman who said that she had seen him immediately after the grenade explosion near the crime scene. However, the defendant insisted, the woman could not remember him because it was twilight. In addition, she was confused, remembering in which direction the man she met ran.
Mr. Kadyrov also recalled that at that time a suspended sentence was in effect, and he could not leave Khabarovsk, and the crime was committed outside the regional center.
In addition, the defendant’s neighbors confirmed that on the day of the assassination attempt they had instructed him to look after their daughter, since he had experience working in a children’s rehabilitation center.
Defendant Andrei Paley, whom the prosecution considers the perpetrator of the murders of businessman Yevgeny Zori, who had a conflict with Sergei Furgal, and former policeman and then director of West Marketing LLC Oleg Bulatov, committed on October 28, 2004 and January 31, 2005, respectively, also stated that he was not involved to these crimes. He stressed that before the trial and the investigation, “he was not acquainted with anyone of all those present in the dock.” The defendant asked the jury to acquit him.
Another defendant in the case, Andrei Karepov, the alleged mediator between the customer and the perpetrators of crimes, compared the process with a friendly court. “There used to be such people,” he recalled, “they were judged according to concepts, and not according to the law.”
True, the terms were not taken out there, the defendant noted, but “real terms will be assigned here.” And he added: “Although the prosecutors did not present anything that would prove our involvement in the crimes.” After that, the accused stated that the testimonies of witnesses, on which the claims of law enforcement officers against him are based, were confused. In addition, the defendant said that if they are accused of mediating the “order” of crimes, then the investigation was obliged to “show a financial trail.” “Am I fabulously rich, or have I got some expensive things? the accused asked. “Any money leaves a trace, but the prosecutors did not present such evidence, because there is none.”
Finally, the main person involved in this high-profile case, the former governor of the Khabarovsk Territory, Sergei Furgal, spoke last. His speech was the most emotional and was mainly devoted to criticism of the prosecutors who supported the prosecution during the trial.
“They said: trust us, because we represent the state,” exclaimed Mr. Furgal. “But this is not so! They represent not the state, but the prosecutor’s office, where a decision taken in favor of the accused is a flaw in their work.
He criticized the ex-governor and his former business partner, also involved in this high-profile investigation, Nikolai Mistryukov (he entered into a pre-trial agreement, testified against other defendants, his case was separated into a separate proceeding). “This one decided to go free by slandering himself and others and received 30-50 million rubles for this, having sold his shares in the metallurgical enterprise,” the defendant said. The presiding judge, Gennady Tsoi, immediately interrupted the defendant, pointing out that information of this kind could not be cited as arguments, since they were not examined during the trial. The judge scheduled a break for the lawyers to explain to the defendants the inadmissibility of violations of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Meanwhile, Mr. Furgal managed to declare that “most of the witnesses were not interrogated in the process, and an even greater part of the documents were not provided to the jury at all for review.”
After the break, Sergei Furgal tried to appeal to the conscience of the jury. “If you condemn us innocents, it will be a great sin,” he said. “Because the true guilty will walk in the fresh air smiling. I am not a big Christian, but we need to be justified so that we can breathe free air. And now I will sit down and wait for your fair verdict.”
Then Gennady Tsoi handed out a questionnaire to the lawyers and the defendants in order to agree on the 32 questions contained in it, which the jury would have to answer when reaching a verdict. All of them were divided into four groups of eight questions each. As usual, the assessors will have to answer whether a crime took place and, if so, whether each defendant took part in the episode imputed to him and whether he deserves leniency in case of guilt.
Lawyers immediately stated that they saw in the documents received questions that did not correspond to the charges, as well as factual errors.
The hearing was adjourned for a day: on Thursday, Judge Tsoi will receive a revised version of the questionnaire from the defense and decide whether to offer it to the jury. If the parties manage to reach a consensus, the jury will go to the deliberation room to deliver a verdict.