POLITICS

Moscow court rejects Evan Gershkovich’s appeal, keeping him in jail until at least June 30

Apr 23, 2024, 7:42 AM | Updated: Apr 24, 2024, 3:14 am

MOSCOW (AP) — Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will remain jailed on espionage charges until at least late June, after a Moscow court on Tuesday rejected his appeal that sought to end his pretrial detention.

The 32-year-old U.S. citizen was detained in late March 2023 while on a reporting trip and has spent over a year in jail, with authorities routinely extending his time behind bars and rejecting his appeals. Last month, his pretrial detention was continued yet again — until June 30 — in a ruling that he and his lawyers later challenged. A Moscow appellate court rejected it Tuesday.

In the courtroom on Tuesday, Gerhskovich, wearing a white T-shirt and an open checked shirt, looked relaxed, at times laughing and chatting with members of his legal team.

His arrest in the city of Yekaterinburg rattled journalists in Russia, where authorities have not detailed what, if any, evidence they have to support the espionage charges.

Gershkovich and his employer have denied the allegations, and the U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained.

Analysts have pointed out that Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips in soaring U.S.-Russian tensions over the Kremlin’s military operation in Ukraine. At least two U.S. citizens arrested in Russia in recent years — including WNBA star Brittney Griner — have been exchanged for Russians jailed in the U.S.

In December, the U.S. State Department said it had made a significant offer to secure the release of Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges, which it said Moscow had rejected.

Officials did not describe the offer, although Russia has been said to be seeking the release of Vadim Krasikov, who was given a life sentence in Germany in 2021 for the killing in Berlin of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a 40-year-old Georgian citizen of Chechen descent who had fought Russian troops in Chechnya and later claimed asylum in Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, asked this year about releasing Gershkovich, appeared to refer to Krasikov by pointing to a man imprisoned by a U.S. ally for “liquidating a bandit” who had allegedly killed Russian soldiers during separatist fighting in Chechnya.

Beyond that hint, Russian officials have kept mum about the talks. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly said that while “certain contacts” on swaps continue, “they must be carried out in absolute silence.”

Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB.

Daniloff was released without charge 20 days later in a swap for an employee of the Soviet Union’s U.N. mission who was arrested by the FBI, also on spying charges.

Politics

Associated Press

Former California water official pleads guilty to conspiring to steal water from irrigation canal

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former California water official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal water in a deal with federal prosecutors in the state’s crop-rich Central Valley. The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that 78-year-old Dennis Falaschi, who used to head the Panoche Water District, entered the plea in federal court in Fresno. […]

53 minutes ago

Associated Press

Prosecutors build their case at bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez with emails and texts

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors were presenting their bribery case against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez drip-by-drip on Tuesday, showing jurors a steady stream of documents, emails and phone records that they’ll explain more thoroughly later in the trial. The evidence was being shown to Manhattan federal court jurors through the testimony of an FBI […]

55 minutes ago

Associated Press

Reno police officer who accidentally shot suspect pulled trigger when hit by another officer’s Taser

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Reno police officer accidentally shot an unarmed suspect in 2020 when he flinched and pulled the trigger on his service revolver in an inadvertent response to being stuck by a Taser fired by another officer, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks cleared Officer Richard Jager of […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Federal investigation of former Ohio House speaker ends with no charges filed

COLYUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Federal officials have notified Ohio’s former House speaker that they have closed their investigation of him and he will not face any charges. Cliff Rosenberger, a Republican from Wilmington, had resigned the post in 2018 after it went public that he was the target of a federal probe into his travel […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

US files a labor complaint over claims that a Volkswagen plant in Mexico fired union activists

MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. trade authorities said Tuesday they have filed a labor complaint with Mexico over allegations that a Volkswagen auto plant in central Mexico unfairly fired union activists. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Tuesday the complaint includes the temporary suspension of tariff benefits for vehicles and parts produced at the VW […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Three people shot to death in tiny South Dakota town; former mayor charged

CENTERVILLE, S.D. (AP) — Three people were shot to death in a small South Dakota town, and a former law officer who once served as the town’s mayor is charged in the killings. Jay Ostrem, 64, was jailed on $1 million cash-only bond on three counts of first-degree murder, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley […]

4 hours ago

Moscow court rejects Evan Gershkovich’s appeal, keeping him in jail until at least June 30