MOSCOW, February 18 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Preobrazhensky District Court began hearing a case brought against lawyer Murad Musayev who represented suspected killers of prominent journalist Anna Politkovskaya over accusations that he bribed witnesses in an unrelated trial, spokesperson for the court, Alexandra Savelyeva, told RAPSI on Wednesday.

The trial may be held behind closed doorsuopn the order of the court, Savelyeva said.

Investigators claim that Musayev bribed two witnesses in January 2013 in the case against Yusup Temerkhanov, who was later convicted of the murder of Colonel Budanov and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The bribes were allegedly payed to convince the witnesses to give false testimonies at trial.

The Investigative Committee also reported that between 2012 and 2013, Musayev tried to coerce the jury to acquit Temerkhanov, and attempted to persuade them to quit the jury panel.

Musayev pleads not guilty to the charges brought against him.

Colonel Yuri Budanov was convicted of war crimes in Chechnya in July 2003. A military court found him guilty of abuse of power in connection with the kidnapping and the murder of 18-year-old Chechen Elza Kungayeva. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and deprived of his rank, medals and the chance to hold official positions for three years after his release.

In January 2009, Budanov was released on parole. In June 2011, he was shot dead as he walked out of a notary office in Moscow.

Investigators claimed that Temerkhanov planned the murder after his father had been killed in Chechnya in 2000.