Attorney: Accused Russian agent and GOP operative had genuine romance

The lawyer of alleged Russian agent Maria ButinaMaria ButinaAmerican imprisoned in Russia calls for Biden to resolve 'hostage diplomacy situation' in Putin meeting Fake German heiress Anna Sorokin taken into custody, faces deportation US-convicted Russian operative Maria Butina visits Navalny in jail MORE on Tuesday released a video of her singing a Disney song with GOP political operative Paul Erickson in order to prove the two had a genuine romantic relationship. 

Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll released the video to ABC's "Good Morning America" in order to counter accusations that Butina traded sex for insider information. 


In the video, Butina and Erickson gaze at one another as they sing "Beauty and the Beast" from the Disney musical of the same name. GMA also reported that the two are still together, according to Butina's lawyer.

"I find it adorable," Driscoll said of the video.

"You can also look at this and say, this looks pretty legitimate," he said. "At least I do. I mean, I’m a sucker for romance but to me, they look pretty happy." 

Butina's lawyers are claiming accusations against Butina are part of a "sexist smear," The New York Times reported last week

"The government essentially, for lack of a better term, called her a whore," Driscoll said in the interview. "It’s kind of unfortunate and frankly, a little bit sexist that because I think she’s a good-looking woman, there’s this presumption that any success she has has more to do with her looks than her three master’s degrees." 

Federal prosecutors are accusing Butina of attempting to infiltrate organizations with close ties to the GOP, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), in order to set up back-channel communications and operate a secret influence campaign on behalf of the Russian government.

The music video was reportedly recorded in Moscow, where Erickson traveled with Butina in 2015. Erickson has not been charged with any wrongdoing, although several of his banking transactions are under investigation, according to BuzzFeed.

Butina's lawyers on Friday claimed the allegations “painted Ms. Butina as some type of Kremlin-trained seductress, or spy-novel honey pot character, trading sex for access and power," the Times reported. 

Butina was transferred last week to a Virginia jail from Washington, D.C.

Federal District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday said she is considering a gag order that would ban both sides from speaking publicly about the case.