A federal judge has refused to suppress key evidence in the pending trial of accused Russian mega-hacker Roman Seleznev.

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A federal judge has refused to suppress key evidence in the pending trial of accused Russian mega-hacker Roman Seleznev.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones said Seleznev’s accusations that federal agents tampered with his computer — and the dueling opinions of prosecution and defense experts about whether that occurred — should be considered by the jury in Seleznev’s upcoming federal trial.

However, Jones said he would not exclude the data recovered from the computer, which prosecutors contend is crucial to the government’s case.

Jones said evidence presented at an earlier suppression hearing convinced him there was no indication of intentional tampering.

Seleznev’s attorneys, John Henry Browne and his partner, Emma Scanlan, last month filed a motion to suppress evidence from the laptop computer, which was seized by Secret Service agents when he was arrested while vacationing in The Maldives in 2014.

Browne said Thursday he was not surprised by the ruling, adding that the judge’s decision to let him argue the issue before a jury was a small victory.

Browne and Scanlan argued there was evidence that the laptop was mishandled through “gross incompetence,” at best, and tampered with, at worst, by federal agents.

The lawyers claim a forensic computer analyst has identified hundreds of files on the machine that had been modified while it was supposed to be in federal custody. Thousands of other files had been improperly accessed, according to court documents.

Prosecutors allege Seleznev, the son of a powerful member of the Russian Parliament, used his computer skills to steal millions of credit-card numbers from businesses and then sell them on the online black market.

He operated for years in Eastern Europe, using dozens of different identities, they allege, and was secretly indicted by a Seattle grand jury in 2011.

He faces 40 federal felony charges. His trial is set to begin in August.

After his July 5, 2014, arrest, Seleznev was first taken to Guam and then flown to Seattle. His computer was placed in an evidence vault, where agents said it remained for more than three weeks. However, the history of activity on the device showed dozens of files were accessed during that time.

The government’s expert said that activity was automated and routine, and included routine anti-virus scans and maintenance routines.

Prosecutors claimed the tampering claims were “based on the wholesale omission of key facts” and “verges on an outright lack of candor with the court.”