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  Sunday, October 20, 2019
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Nearly 600 policemen have been ensuring safety at the building of the Meshchansky Court
Nearly 600 policemen have been ensuring safety at the building of the Meshchansky Court, where verdict reading in the trial of Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and Krainov began four days ago.The area around the court is cordoned off and policemen stand every meter, and tramcars and trolleybuses are ordered to pass without stopping. Men in civilian with walkie-talkies check the territory. There are no policemen in bulletproof vests and helmets at the court today. Today the judges will continue reading the verdict to ex-Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Menatep head Platon Lebedev and former general director of Volna Andrei Krainov. The trial lasted ten months and now three professional judges are reading out the verdict. The lawyers think the reading will take long. Yuri Shmidt, a defense counsel of Khodorkovsky, told journalists to "prepare to work at the Meshchansky court until the end of the month." In the first three days of verdict reading, the judges have read out only the initial part of the verdict and started reading out the declaration of intent. The lawyers think the court will pass a verdict of guilty. Khodorkovsky spent nearly 18 months in the pre-trial ward and Lebedev, 20 months. They are changed under seven articles of the Criminal Code each, including of tax evasion and grand fraud. Krainov is charged with fraudulent damage to the property of the owner and neglect for the enforced court decision. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev plead not guilty and Krainov recognized his guilt partially. The prosecutors asked the court to pass a verdict of guilty to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev on all seven charges and to sentence them to ten years in a minimum-security prison. Krainov may get 5.5 years conditionally
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