Judge denies request to move alleged Russian agent out of solitary confinement

Judge denies request to move alleged Russian agent out of solitary confinement
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A federal district court judge on Wednesday denied a request from Maria Butina’s defense attorneys to move the alleged Russian agent out of solitary confinement. 

Judge Tanya Chutkan, of the federal District Court for the District of Columbia, said Butina’s attorneys did not submit substantial evidence to prove that she was unjustly being kept isolated from the other inmates in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Va.


“The motion merely asserts counsel’s understanding, based on hearsay conversations and speculation, as to why the Defendant has been placed in administrative segregation,” Chutkan said.

Butina’s attorneys asked Chutkan earlier this week to move Butina to the center's general population where she had been living before she was moved without given cause back into solitary confinement on Nov. 21.

They argue she had not violated any of the center’s rules, been disciplined or had any incidents with other inmates. 

Being held in a cell for 22 hours a day without human interaction, her attorneys said, was starting to have a profound psychological impact on their client.

But Chutkan said under Supreme Court precedent, a prison’s internal security is usually a matter left to the discretion of prison administrators.

The Alexandria detention center houses federal detainees awaiting trial in “administrative segregation” for their own safety, but Butina's lawyers said the center has granted her previous request to live in the general population.

Butina has been incarcerated since her arrest in July. She has been held on charges of acting as an agent of the Russian Federation to infiltrate organizations active in American politics. Prosecutors said earlier this month they are working toward a resolution in her criminal case.