Freed Dmitry Sklyarov will be Home for the Holidays!
New legal agreement offers near-acquittal, freedom to leave the U.S.

Dmitry Sklyarov is free to return to Russia

13 December 2001

Freed Dmitry!

Times were simpler the last time (mid-July ) he tried to catch a flight home.

Despite the widespread fear of flying that's gripped much of the world since the September 11 terrorist acts in the United States, don't be surprised to see Moscow, Russia-bound Dmitry Sklyarov rush the airline ticket counter in the near future -- as he and his family eagerly head home for the holidays after his five-month, government-enforced U.S. stay.

On July 16 he was detained en route to the Las Vegas airport by the FBI, then arrested and months later finally indicted on charges of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Today a U. S. District Court Judge gave Sklyarov permission to return home and, in effect, freed him [PDF: 660kb] from remaining a defendant -- with certain stipulations and obligations -- in the criminal trial that is still moving ahead in the District Court of Northern California. ElcomSoft Co. Ltd., Sklyarov's employer, still faces criminal charges of circumventing copyright protection in Adobe Systems' PDF-based eBooks. According to the terms of the PreTrial Diversion Agreement, Sklyarov is required to testify in the case. Ironically, he's likely to be called to testify on behalf of both the U.S. government and ElcomSoft.

Sklyarov's attorneys -- Keker & Van Nest -- distributed the following news release this afternoon to explain the recent ruling and its ramifications:

San Jose, CA - Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian Programmer arrested by the FBI in July and detained in the U. S. under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, will be home for Christmas. Today, US Federal Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte signed the order approving a Diversion Agreement for this mild-mannered Russian Intellectual. The agreement will ultimately release Dmitry from all criminal charges, but more immediately this agreement allows him and his family to return to their homeland, Russia.

In a statement on the proceedings, lead Attorney John Keker expressed his views on today's agreement. "With this agreement, Dimitry gets everything he could get from an acquittal, and more. The indictment will be dismissed eventually, he gets to tell his story truthfully without pressure from the government, and he gets to go home now, rather than wait in the US while the case is fought. We are pleased with the result, and look forward to ElcomSoft's eventual acquittal."

Dmitry, relieved and pleased about the outcome, is not opening up the Vodka just yet. "Until I'm in Russia, it is too early to say that I'm happy. But this agreement looks like (the) first significant change in my situation for last five months. (My) First real chance to get home."

In today's agreement, Dmitry will be required to testify for the government and ElcomSoft expects him to testify for their case as well. The story Dmitry has to tell is exactly the same regardless of which side calls him to testify. Dmitry's story has not changed since that day in July, when the FBI arrested him in Las Vegas, and he is quite happy to tell his story again and again, if need be.

ElcomSoft, the Russian Security Software Development Company indicted under the same DMCA charges and Dmitry's employer, is thankful for the outcome of today's proceedings. CEO Alex Katalov is quick to point out "ElcomSoft has always made Dmitry's welfare its highest priority -- we are very pleased that there has been a solution that minimizes the risk for Dmitry and allows him and his family to return to Russia." When asked about today's decision and the effect it could have on ElcomSoft's case, Katalov replied "This decision actually liberates us from worrying about Dmitry going to jail -- now this risk is removed, the company can pursue its own defense more aggressively."

Joe Burton, lead attorney for ElcomSoft, reacted to today's outcome saying "I want to make a statement on behalf of ElcomSoft, my client -- Both my client and I have, since the beginning of this case, maintained Dmitry's innocence on any and all criminal activity. From day-one of the arrest ElcomSoft has been willing to have the Government proceed against them and NOT Dmitry. Burton further states "you may remember that ElcomSoft offered to take Dmitry's place and substitute the company as the sole defendant in this case -- The company knows that neither Dmitry nor they committed any criminal acts and believes that in the end, they will be found innocent of any and all charges the U.S. Government is bringing against them as well."

The case continues with one exception, it's unwitting hero, Dmitry Sklyarov, is no longer detained in the U.S. and his thoughts are now on his family his career and the upcoming holiday season in his homeland, at last.

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