Defense attorneys for alleged Russian agent Maria Butina say their client is arbitrarily being held in solitary confinement.
In a new court filing Tuesday, Butina’s defense attorneys Robert Driscoll and Alfred Carry claim Butina is being kept isolated “under a false pretext to mask an indefinite solitary confinement that is unjust and without cause" at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Va.
“As of the date of this filing, Ms. Butina has now been in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day for 6 consecutive days with no prospective release date,” they said.
The Alexandria detention center houses federal detainees awaiting trial in “administrative segregation” for their own safety, but Butina’s attorneys said their client had previously been released into the general population at her own request.
But Driscoll and Carry said on Nov. 21 Butina was moved back to solitary confinement even though she had not violated any of the center’s rules, been disciplined or had any incidents with other inmates.
Driscoll and Carry asked a federal district court judge in D.C. to issue an order that requires Butina to be moved to the detention center’s general population.
"It is the opinion of the undersigned that prolonged deprivation of human contact and interaction is starting to have a profound psychological impact on Ms. Butina," they said.
"Unless the court intervenes, she will continue to be held in this manner and ultimately require the attention of mental health professionals."
Earlier this month, prosecutors and defense attorneys said they are negotiating a potential resolution in Butina’s criminal case and U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan granted their joint request to push a status conference in the case back to Dec. 19.
Butina has been charged with acting as an agent of the Russian Federation to infiltrate organizations active in American politics.