Home CRIME Russian Spy Maria Butina Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy Against The United States

Russian Spy Maria Butina Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy Against The United States

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FILE - In this Sunday, April 22, 2012 filer, Maria Butina, a gun-rights activist, poses for a photo at a shooting range in Moscow, Russia. Accused of working as an undeclared foreign agent in the U.S., Butina is fast becoming a cause celebre at home. Russian government rhetoric portrays Butina, accused of working as an undeclared foreign agent in the U.S., as a martyr to U.S. paranoia and a victim of poor conditions in the jail where she's being held pending trial. (AP Photo/Pavel Ptitsin, File)

The Russian gun rights activist was enmeshed in Republican politics during the 2016 election.

The 30-year-old was arrested and charged in July. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped a charge of acting as a foreign agent. The charge she pleaded guilty to could carry a term of up to five years in prison, but sentencing guidelines suggest she’d get between zero and six months in prison.

Maria Butina has pleaded guilty to engaging in conspiracy against the United States.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Maria Butina has pleaded guilty to engaging in conspiracy against the United States.

Butina was closely associated with the National Rifle Association. A prosecutor said in court that she “sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics,” according to CNN.

Her plea agreement indicates that Butina admitted that she and “Person 1” ― her boyfriend Paul Erickson ― “agreed and conspired” with a Russian government official and at least one other person “for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official,” known to be Alexander Torshin.

“With U.S. Person 1’s assistance and subject to Russian Official’s direction, Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics,” the agreement states. “Butina sought to use those official lines of communication for the benefit of the Russian Federation, acting through Russian Official.”

Butina is one of a number of Russians charged in connection with Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation but is the only Russian national from that group who has appeared in court. (The case is being led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, not Mueller’s team.)

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Butina, who attended American University as a graduate student, has been held without bail following her arrest over the summer. She’ll likely be deported after she finishes her sentence.

Source: HuffPost

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