Prosecutors wrote in court filings that were briefly made public Friday that the U.S. fears for the safety of Maria Butina, the woman who pleaded guilty on Thursday to being an unregistered agent of Russia in the U.S., if details about her transportation while in custody are made public.
Bloomberg News first reported that a filing stamped "Under Seal" was made public Friday and reveals that prosecutors have urged a federal judge to keep details about Butina's whereabouts out of the public eye due to security concerns.
“Although the fact of defendant Butina’s cooperation is now public, the details of her transportation to and from the jail are not,” Justice Department lawyers told U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, according to Bloomberg.
“Once disclosed, such information could be used by individuals or entities who might seek to harm or intimidate the defendant to prevent her from continuing to cooperate with law enforcement," the filing continued, according to the outlet.
Butina acknowledged in the District Court for the District of Columbia that she and an American, known in court documents as "U.S. Person 1," conspired with and acted at the behest of a Russian government official to create unofficial ties with people able to influence U.S. politics leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Russia has denied that Butina was working for their government and has publicly called for her release. Officials at the Russian Embassy have claimed that Butina was coerced into confessing.
"We will continue demanding the release of Maria, victim of the blatant outrage," the Russian Embassy said in a statement last week.