National Security

Russian agent Maria Butina asks to be released from jail

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Admitted Russian agent Maria Butina has asked to be released from prison and sent back to Russia, according to a Friday court filing.

Butina’s attorneys characterized her in a sentencing memo Friday as a someone with a bright future that was ruined for helping with “diplomacy efforts,” CNN reported. 

“Nearly a year ago, she graduated with a master’s degree from American University with straight A’s and bright career prospects. Now, her world has collapsed because of a decision to help and discuss her amateur diplomacy efforts with a Russian official,” they wrote. {mosads}

Butina has admitted to attempting to foster positive relationships with conservative U.S. organizations for Russia, particularly with the backing of former Russian politician Alexander Torshin.{mosads}

She is expected to be sentenced next Friday. Prosecutors have not put forth a sentencing recommendation, but her defense team is asking for time already served. She has been in custody since her arrest in July 2018.

Butina accepted a plea agreement in which she admitted to conspiring with a Russian government official and an American to infiltrate Republican political groups in an attempt to alter the U.S. political system.

“She did not infiltrate the NRA. She joined it, as millions have, by filling out an online form and paying a fee. She did not seduce the figures within it or funnel Russian money to it. Nor did anyone else instruct her to do so,” her lawyers argued Friday, according to CNN.

They added that she has communicated with the Senate Intelligence Committee and provided “thousands of pages of documents.” 

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