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Peace-of-mind Returns to Court Despite Near Release to Russia

Peace-of-mind: The case against Yevgeniy Nikulin will move forward in mid-June following an eight-week break while Nikulin was evaluated for mental fitness to stand trial.  Nikulin was arrested in Prague in October of 2016 and is believed to be the hacker known as Peace-of-mind, also known as Peace, who was responsible for the breaches of LinkedIn and Dropbox, among others.  Questions of Mr. Nikulin’s ability to stand trial came following his continued refusal to communicate with his defense team in any way about the charges against him.  After an eight week evaluation Mr. Nikulin was diagnosed with PTSD, and a narcissistic personality disorder which includes “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.”  Even though Mr. Nikulin refuses to communicate with his defense team, Mr. Nikulin was able to accurately describe the charges against him and the current state of the trial.  This week, a judge ruled that even though Mr. Nikulin was diagnosed with mental disorders, his ability to comprehend the charges and the case against him indicates that he is still fit to stand trial.  Prior to this ruling, it had been decided that if Mr. Nikulin was unfit to stand trial, U.S. authorities would have no choice but to return Mr. Nikulin to Russia.  Since his arrival in the United States, he has had several meetings with members of the Russian consulate without his defense team present.  It is unknown if his refusal to communicate with his defense team was a calculated move to try to get the case thrown out or not.  Since his arrest, Russian authorities have demanded his release to their custody.

Analyst Notes

While the case will continue on June 11th, it will probably not take place without further incident and delays.