NEW YORK (AP) — An associate of a notorious Russian arms dealer says he’ll represent himself at his upcoming New York trial on charges he conspired to buy planes to move weapons to the world’s bloodiest conflicts.
Syrian-born American Richard Chichakli (chih-KOHK’-lee) was arrested in January in Australia. He’s accused of conspiring with people including former Soviet air officer Viktor Bout (boot), dubbed the Merchant of Death because of his 1990s-era notoriety for running a fleet of aging cargo planes to conflict-ridden hotspots.
Chichakli said at a Thursday conference he’ll represent himself at a November trial. The judge warned him he believed he’d be far better represented by counsel.
Bout is serving 25 years in prison following a conviction on terrorism charges. He has insisted he was a legitimate businessman.