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Main government witness against Russian arms suspect at NY trial recounts key Moscow meeting
NEW YORK (AP) ' The star witness against a former Soviet military officer dubbed the Merchant of Death has taken center stage at his federal trial in New York.
Andrew Smulian on Wednesday recounted a Moscow meeting with defendant Viktor Bout (boot), who's accused of agreeing to sell weapons to anti-American rebels. Authorities say the meeting set up negotiations with informants posing as South American terrorists.
Smulian is a South African arrested with Bout in Bangkok in March 2008 on conspiracy charges. The case stems from a sting operation led by U.S. narcotics agents.
Smulian pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government to win a reduced prison sentence. He says he and Bout met in January 2008 to arrange delivery of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Bout has pleaded not guilty. He maintains he's a legitimate businessman.