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Dovgy Found Guilty After Traffic Police Stop Juror

Published: June 26, 2009 (Issue # 1486)


MOSCOW — Former senior investigator Dmitry Dovgy might have left the court a free man Wednesday if juror No. 10 hadn’t been stopped by the traffic police on her way to the courthouse.

Dovgy — a former top official with the Investigative Committee whose legal troubles are believed to be part of a bitter power struggle between political clans — was convicted of bribery and abuse of office by a split jury in the Moscow City Court.

Dovgy looked down at his notes without expression as the jury announced its verdict.

“Dmitry Dovgy was prepared for such an outcome,” his lawyer Yury Bagrayev said in a sad voice outside the courtroom.

The trial started with a delay Wednesday morning because one of the jurors did not arrive in time. Juror No. 10, Yelena Zharkova, was detained by a traffic police officer for about 40 minutes as he insisted on checking whether she was driving a stolen car, Zharkova said.

Traffic police rarely perform stolen vehicle checks when stopping drivers to examine their documents.

Zharkova, who showed up at the court after the judge had already replaced her with a reserve juror, angrily told reporters that she had shown the traffic police officer a document that grants jurors special status on par with federal judges, but he had ignored it.

Defense lawyer Robert Zinovyev said the traffic police incident was suspicious. “No policeman should have been able to hold her up for so long, because she had the status of a federal judge,” he told reporters after the conviction.

It took the 12-member jury about three hours to rule on 10 questions formed by the court. The jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision; by law, only a majority is needed to reach a verdict. But Judge Dmitry Fomin ordered them not to reveal how they had voted, leaving it unclear whether Zharkova’s vote might have saved Dovgy from being convicted.

Defense lawyers said they believed that Zharkova would have voted for Dovgy’s acquittal.

The juror who replaced Zharkova was the last available member of the four-person reserve. The other three backup jurors had already been called in to replace original jurors who had left for various reasons.

Unusual jury activity has raised red flags with defense lawyers in other cases. Three jurors were removed and charged with wrongdoing — including one with public drinking — during the high-profile trial of banker Alexei Frenkel last year in the Moscow City Court. Frenkel’s lawyers denounced the charges as a prosecution ploy to tip the jury in its favor, and the modified jury later convicted Frenkel of ordering the 2006 murder of central banker Andrei Kozlov.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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