A federal judge in California issued a warrant for the rearrest of former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov after federal prosecutors convinced the judge that the man at the center of House Republicans’ ongoing impeachment inquiry was “likely” planning to flee the United States.

Smirnov, charged with making what prosecutors say were politically motivated false allegations about President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, was initially picked up by federal authorities at the airport in Las Vegas last week after returning from an international flight. On Tuesday, a federal magistrate judge in Nevada ordered Smirnov released with a GPS monitor. Now, an order from a federal judge in California — where the case was brought and will unfold going forward — reveals that the federal judge overseeing the case ordered Smirnov rearrested.

“It has come to this Court’s attention that counsel for defendant has sought an emergency hearing in the District of Nevada to arrange the release of Defendant Smirnov, likely to facilitate his absconding from the United States,” U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright wrote in an order unsealed Friday. Wright wrote that he “issued an arrest warrant specifying that upon his arrest Defendant should be brought promptly to this Court,” bolding his order for emphasis.

Wright ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to bring Smirnov to his courtroom in Los Angeles for a hearing on Monday, and that “there is to be no deviation from this Order.”

Smirnov’s false allegations about bribes to the Bidens were at the “heart” of the ongoing impeachment inquiry by House Republicans, although leaders of the impeachment inquiry are seeking to downplay the extent to which they relied upon the false allegations during their investigation.

The alleged lies that Smirnov told the FBI were documented in a FBI file back in 2020, according to prosecutors. In a filing this week, prosecutors said Smirnov “is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November.”

David Z. Chesnoff and Richard A. Schonfeld, attorneys for Smirnov, said they are “advocating for Mr. Smirnov’s release in both the federal [district] court and in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals” but would have “no comment on the case and look forward to appearing in the appropriate federal court.”

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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