Former FBI Informant in Hunter Biden Inquiry Faces Blindness Risk in Prison

Hunter Biden
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Alexander Smirnov, a key figure in the impeachment investigations surrounding President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities, is currently facing a grave health crisis while incarcerated. Smirnov, who previously served as an FBI informant, has been charged with creating fake documents and providing false information about Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.

His current predicament in the Santa Ana City Jail in California, as highlighted by a Newsweek report revolves around his untreated glaucoma, which threatens to leave him blind. The charges against Smirnov led to his detention, with U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II citing him as a flight risk. This situation took a dire turn when Judge Wright dismissed a plea from Smirnov’s legal representatives who sought a 30-day medical furlough for him to receive crucial eye surgery.

Smirnov’s legal team, in their appeal to the court, emphasized his longstanding battle with advanced open-angle glaucoma, which has inflicted significant damage on his optic nerves despite previous surgical interventions. The urgency for further treatment was underscored by the necessity to mitigate his intraocular pressure to avert irreversible loss of vision.

The request made by Smirnov’s attorneys was twofold: either to grant him temporary release for surgical treatment in San Francisco, followed by post-operative care under Dr. H. George Tanaka until April 29 or to arrange for his transportation to and from the medical appointments by the United States Marshal Service (USMS) if direct release was not feasible.

Judge Wright, while initially declining Smirnov’s motion on March 13, did not entirely foreclose the possibility of medical intervention. He proposed an alternative wherein Smirnov could access the required treatment at a facility contracted with the USMS, contingent on approval by the service, via NBC.

This judicial decision hinges on balancing the limited resources of the USMS, the availability of high-quality medical facilities in the metropolitan area to cater to Smirnov’s needs, and the imperative to uphold government security interests.

In the broader political landscape, Smirnov’s arrest marked a turning point in the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings, led by Maryland Democrat Representative Jamie Raskin. The inquiry, which has been a focal point for House Republicans seeking to impeach President Biden over alleged profiteering from his son’s overseas business ventures, was declared effectively concluded following Smirnov’s legal challenges.

Despite this development and Smirnov’s current health and legal predicaments, figures like Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan and Kentucky Republican James Comer persist in their investigative efforts, asserting that the foundational allegations remain pertinent.

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