Baratov’s lawyer goes to U.S. in bid to speed case
Accused hacker ‘can’t sit in jail any longer’
THE LAWYER for accused Ancaster hacker Karim Baratov says he has gone to Washington to meet with the FBI and district attorney in an effort to expedite his client’s day in court.
“They’ve been more than helpful. We most likely can close this case a lot earlier,” lawyer Amadeo DiCarlo told reporters outside the Hamilton courthouse on Friday.
“I hope I can skip the Canadian process and go straight to the U.S.”
DiCarlo is trying again to get Baratov out of jail to await his extradition hearing. DiCarlo is asking the Ontario Court of Appeals on June 5 to review the decision by a Hamilton judge in April that denied Baratov bail.
Superior Court Justice Alan Whitten ruled at the time that Baratov was a flight risk.
The 22-year-old was arrested at his home in Ancaster on March 14 in connection with a prolific hacking scheme allegedly organized by Russian intelligence agents. The scheme is said to have breached about 500 million Yahoo email accounts and targeted diplomats, bureaucrats and others for political and financial gain.
U.S. authorities have charged Baratov, a Canadian citizen born in Kazakhstan, with aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit fraud. They want him extradited south of the border to deal with the charges.
But the time it is taking to set an extradition hearing while Baratov waits in jail has DiCarlo trying other avenues, including his visit to U.S. authorities. An impeding factor to speeding things up, the lawyer says, is that the defence has not received any disclosure — a copy of the evidence collected against Baratov.Baratov
DiCarlo said Baratov can’t make any decisions, including whether to go through with an extradition hearing, without it.
Baratov made a brief appearance in a Hamilton courtroom Friday morning to have a date set for his extradition hearing, but that action was postponed to June 16. DiCarlo said he plans to make a formal application for disclosure that same day.
Department of Justice Canada spokesperson Ian McLeod said in an email that evidence in support of extradition would be filed at the extradition hearing.
“Mr. Baratov also has the option to consent to his surrender to the United States,” McLeod said.
In court, Baratov, dressed in a black T-shirt and black jeans, looked relaxed in the prisoner’s box.
His parents were not in court for this short appearance.
DiCarlo said the RCMP recently told him it could take another three months before he can have disclosure. He doesn’t want to see Baratov waiting that long and is counting on the Appeal Court to release him.
“I’m hoping to get Mr. Baratov out … If we need to go the U.S. (to deal with the case), I’ll transport him myself…,” DiCarlo said. “He can’t sit in jail any longer, waiting for the system. He wants to be out. He wants to be in the community, and he’s just waiting.”
Baratov has been asking for material to read and is “pretty much bored.”
DiCarlo said his earlier meetings with the FBI were stalled by six or seven days because he was there just after President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey, which occupied some senior officials who also had to deal with the Baratov case.
After court Friday, DiCarlo was frustrated he can’t get the process moving as he would like, while “the U.S. is throwing this big cloud” on Baratov.
Karim Baratov “wants to be in the community,” his lawyer says.
Amadeo DiCarlo says, “I hope I can skip the Canadian process.”