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TIMELINE - Politkovskaya murder trial

(Reuters) - The three men accused of helping murder Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya were found not guilty on Thursday by a Russian court.

Following is a chronology of the trial:

October 15, 2008: Before evidence is heard, Judge Yevgeny Zubov considers excluding the public from the trial, lawyers at the Moscow military court say.

Another lawyer, Karina Moskalenko, due to represent the Politkovskaya family, said before the trial opened that she found poisonous mercury in her car in Strasbourg, France. November 17, 2008: The court orders a public trial for the three suspects, rejecting a prosecution request for a closed hearing.

November 19, 2009: Judge Zubov bars the public from the trial. Politkovskaya’s colleagues and lawyers accuse the government of a cover-up.

The judge said jurors refused to enter the courtroom with reporters present. A juror gives a radio interview challenging this account. Reporters were eventually allowed to be present during some, but not all, hearings.

November 26, 2008: Prosecutors show the courtroom the bullets they say killed Politkovskaya two years ago. November 27, 2008: Politkovskaya’s final minutes are reconstructed for jurors, who are shown photos of her entering her Moscow apartment building just before she was shot.

The prosecution says the man in the photos -- who it says shot Politkovskaya -- is not one of the three defendants in court. November 30, 2008: Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika defends the investigation into the murder. Chaika says his team was closing in on the assassin and the person who ordered the killing. But Politkovskaya’s family says the case is incomplete as neither the assassin nor the person who paid for the murder were in custody. December 2, 2008: The suspected killer says he is ready to surrender, on condition he receives a fair trial.

December 2, 2008: A trial witness says one of the three on trial had worked as a secret agent for Russia’s domestic intelligence service, the FSB. The witness declines to disclose his sources.

February 16, 2009: A lawyer for Politkovskaya’s family tells the court the three accused were just pawns and the real killers are at large.

Moskalenko appeared to direct the blame for the murder at the authorities, but did not identify any individuals.

February 19, 2009: The jury returns its verdict.