Accused Russian hacker assembles high-profile legal team - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Accused Russian hacker assembles high-profile legal team

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 by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - A man being held locally is the son of a Russian politician and known as one of the world's most prolific traffickers of stolen information, and he's been on Guam now for nearly three weeks waiting for District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood to determine whether she has the authority or jurisdiction to entertain his case. The debate continues and new filings have been revealed in the District Court listing the names of high-profile attorneys who plan to join  Roman Seleznev's defense team.


Was Seleznev kidnapped? His defense attorney Patrick Civille says he was and believes he not only should be released from the Guam Department of Corrections but also argues that no US court even has jurisdiction to entertain his case.

The US Secret Service as well as the US Attorney's Office in Guam issued press releases stating Seleznev was arrested on island on July 6th. It was only after Russian media and through court documents it was revealed that US Secret Service agents allegedly took Seleznev into custody in an airport in the Maldives and forced him on a private jet to Guam.

Seleznev is wanted in the state of Washington where he was indicted on federal charges in March 2011 for multiple counts of bank fraud, intentional damage to a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft to name a few.  Between October 2009 and 2011 he's accused of engaging in a computer hacking scheme within Washington State and elsewhere.  Seleznev is accused of hacking into computer servers worldwide to facilitate his illegal operation which involved stolen credit card data.

Because Attorney Civille argues Seleznev's removal from the Maldives violated international law - he should be released and that the District Court of Guam has no jurisdiction over the matter. Assistant US Attorney in Guam Maravic David replies however that the court has unquestionable personal jurisdiction over Seleznev. She wrote in her brief that the US Supreme Court has held that personal jurisdiction in a criminal case is established by the simple fact of the defendant's presence before the court, regardless of how that presence was secured. The US Attorney's Office has also argued that the question of jurisdiction should be decided in Washington where he faces charges.

Today Civille responded that if a hearing is going to be held it should be to determine exactly what happened in the Maldives and the manner in which Seleznev was arrested. Civille also wrote that by removing Seleznev to the District Court of Washington, the federal court in Guam will have "effectively acquiesced to the government's rogue conduct as an appropriate means of securing Seleznev's presence in the United States."

In the meantime while Civille is the local counsel for Seleznev in documents filed today joining the Russian national's defense team are high profile attorneys from the US mainland. Attorneys Ely Goldin and Robert Ray are partners with the law firm of Fox Rothschild.

Goldin is the regional practice liaison for Russia in the firm's international practice group. According to his bio he's tried hundreds of civil and criminal cases involving millions of dollars before judges and juries in multiple jurisdictions

As for Attorney Robert Ray, he is described as a prominent litigator and former federal prosecutor and independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation and Monica Lewinsky investigation. He has also provided legal analysis on television shows on every  major network in America. Motions for attorneys Goldin and Ray to practice in the District Court of Guam to represent Seleznev were filed today.


Chief Judge Tydingo Gatewood denied Attorneys Goldin and Ray's pro hac vice applications to represent Seleznev. In order she stated the two must file amended applications if they wish to represent him.

The chief judge meanwhile  granted a request by the local US Attorney's Office to allow Assistant US Attorney Michael Morgan from the Western District of Washington to participate via videoconference in hearings related to the case.


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