NY judge: No Web for jurors at Soviet arms trial

October 5, 2011 - 10:55 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge says she'll require jurors at the trial of a former Soviet military officer facing arms charges to sign a pledge not to research the case on the Internet.

Manhattan federal judge Shira Scheindlin said Wednesday she believes the first-of-its-kind measure is necessary at the trial of Viktor Bout (boot), dubbed the Merchant of Death.

Bout has been accused of agreeing to sell military weapons to anti-American rebels. He was arrested in 2008 in Thailand in a sting operation set up by the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was extradited to the United States last year.

Bout maintains he's a legitimate businessman. He's pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges. He could face life in prison if convicted.

His trial begins Oct. 11 with jury selection. Opening statements could begin the next day.