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Butina asks for donations to pay legal expenses

Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina released a video asking supporters to help pay her court costs, as first reported by to the Associated Press.

Butina, recording from a prison dormitory, said in the video that her attorney is filing an appeal on her behalf and requested contributions to pay for the additional legal fees.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Sunday on state TV that while the Russian government would not be paying Butina's legal fees, "we are doing everything so that she will be afforded all rights as a Russian citizen," according to the AP.

Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison in April for acting as an unregistered Russian agent in her efforts to influence American political groups. She will be deported to Russia upon completing her sentence.

During her case, it was revealed that she had cultivated relationships within the National Rifle Association and at one point arranged for NRA members to travel to Moscow, in addition to having ties to Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank and a figure with close ties to both President Vladimir Putin and, allegedly, to Russian organized crime.

"It wouldn't be appropriate to say that this was all one grand giant plan and I'm a part of some grand giant plan," Butina told NPR last week. "There is no proof of that. And I have no knowledge that there is a certain plan."

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