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Judge says Russian man needs access to lawyers

October 8, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) — A judge on Tuesday said that a Russian man charged with hacking into U.S. businesses will need better access to his lawyers than speaking to them through a glass wall.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Donohue said defendant Roman Seleznev has a constitutional right to an effective defense and ordered the defense and the prosecution to come up with a plan that allows both sides to do their jobs while respecting the prison’s security concerns.

Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker, was arrested in the Maldives in July. He was moved to Guam and then Seattle on charges that he hacked into businesses across the U.S. and installed software that allowed him to steal credit card numbers. He has pleaded not guilty.

Seleznev’s lawyers had complained that officials at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center would not let them meet face to face with their client, impeding their ability to provide a defense. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Wilkinson said security concerns for Seleznev increased after two missteps involving his lawyers and cellphones.

In one instance, one of his previous lawyers was seen holding a phone up to Seleznev while he was in a courthouse holding cell. Another time his lawyer carried a phone into the prison by mistake.

Wilkinson said Seleznev must stay in a room separate from his attorneys and talk through a glass wall. They can pass documents by handing them to a guard in an envelope, he said.

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Follow Martha Bellisle at https://twitter.com/marthabellisle

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