Moscow – A Russian court on Thursday sentenced a 29-year-old former U.S. Marine who was arrested last year on charges of assaulting a police officer after a night of strong drinks in Moscow, sentenced him to nine years in a Russian prison.
Trevor Reed’s nine-year sentence is close to the maximum sentence for these charges, which is 10 years. He has been in Russian custody for almost a year, awaiting trial. Prosecutors on Wednesday asked for 9 years and 8 months.
The accused, his family and his girlfriend from Russia all deny the allegations. The US ambassador to Russia called the evidence rude. And they all said it became just the latest example of American citizens being unfairly accused in Russia.
Ambassador John Sullivan told NBC News that Americans detained in Russia for illegally dealing with a judicial problem are becoming an increasingly common problem ̵1; a stark warning to Americans considering visiting or doing business in Russia.
“This is not a good story for US-Russia relations,” Sullivan said shortly after the verdict was announced in a telephone interview. “It is inappropriate to encourage US private citizens and businesses to visit and invest here if they have done so [Reed] can be done to anyone. “
On Wednesday during the tasks, Reed said he did not plead guilty to a crime he had not committed.
“I think it would be unethical and immoral to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit,” he said in a final statement on the eve of the court’s verdict. “If I am sentenced to prison, I would rather stay in prison than go free as a liar and a coward tomorrow.”
Sullivan said the evidence against Reed strained credibility.
“The evidence was so gloomy and deceptive that everyone in the courtroom, even the judge, laughed when it was presented,” Sullivan said. “If this case had been brought in a U.S. court, it would not only have been dropped, but prosecutors would have investigated whether she had brought it in the first place.”
Other cases, such as that of another former U.S. sailor, Paul Whelan, have received much more political and media attention, most likely because of the nature of the allegations against Whelan – espionage – and the open debate over its use as a negotiating token with the United States.
But Reed’s father, Joey, has spent the past year in Moscow supporting his son, trying to keep his case from falling under the radar.. Russian courts have a particularly high number of convictions, and acquittals are becoming less common.
“I’m nervous and worried,” Reed’s mother Paula told NBC News in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Sure, I tried to prepare for the worst, but if you think too much about it … I’m probably not ready. You just feel hopeless and they will take what they are going to do. “
The embassy sent representatives to every hearing at the Reeda court, but generally held a more restrained public stance before the court than was done with the Whelan case, in which Sullivan often held strictly formulated public stances before the trial.
Sullivan told NBC News that part of the reason was that he hoped it could prevent Reed’s case from being overly politicized.
“I did not make public statements the way I have about other cases just because I actually gave the Russian judicial system the opportunity to administer justice through Reed,” he said.
Texas-born Reed spent the summer of 2019 in Moscow studying Russian and visiting his girlfriend, a lawyer in Moscow, and preparing to return home in August last year, his family says. But a few days before his return, he celebrated the night with friends and girlfriends.
Reeda’s friend Alina Tsybulnik said in one interview that she was ill while a colleague married their two homes. The driver stopped the car, Reed and Tsybulnik got out, and then the driver called the police when it was clear that Reed was in poor condition.
“I was not planning to call the police,” Tsybulnik said. “It simply came to our notice then. She had never met Trevor before and didn’t want to deal with it. It was hard for him, his lips were blue, he needed medical help and he didn’t answer me, he didn’t know where he was. “
When police arrived, they imprisoned Reed in the back of the car and took him to the police station, Tsybulnik reported. According to police, Reed became a fighter while driving and hung on the driver’s hand – the car was spinning.
He is accused of endangering the lives of police officers while sitting in the passenger seat with his elbows. Tsybulnik says police handed the jacket to the court with a torn arm to show that he was wearing a driver.
She says it’s just not possible.
“We followed the car and it drove quite slowly, it didn’t twist,” she said. “[Reed] slept in the back of the car. That’s why they didn’t do it with his handcuffs. “
Meanwhile, in previous interviews, Reed said he did not remember the events – a statement that his family had reaffirmed on NBC News.
Joey Reed, a Texas firefighter rescuer who was deeply acquainted with the evidence relating to his son while renting an apartment in Moscow, even frightened the COVID-19 lock, which in April. And in May stopped life in the Russian capital.
“I told him he had to be the father of the year,” Paula Reed said of the man’s efforts.