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Maria Butina pleads guilty as a Russian spy

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Maria Butina pleads guilty as a Russian spy

Marina Butina

Marina Butina

photo via wikimedia under the creative commons license

Marina Butina

photo via wikimedia under the creative commons license

photo via wikimedia under the creative commons license

Marina Butina

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Alleged Russian spy Marina Butina plead guilty in federal court on Thursday morning, December 13th, for trying to break into Republican inner circles before the Presidential election during 2016 and even after.

Butina attended multiple conferences of groups like the NRA (National Rifle Association), and the National Prayer Breakfast. She also orchestrated gatherings where important American leaders could meet with Russians.

Prosecutors of this trial said, “Marina Butina’s main motive was to establish ‘unofficial lines’ of communication with Americans who had a lot of power and large influence over U.S politics.”

I asked all the heads of our intelligence services what is going on. Nobody knows anything about her.”

— Vladamir Putin, president of Russia

Butina initially budgeted the effort at $125,000, to be obtained from a Russian billionaire. The Russian official, according to the description in court documents, matches Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin claims he knows nothing about her.

Butina entered the U.S. in June 2016 on a student visa, to attend graduate school at American University. She helped the Russian official organize a delegation “hand-picked” by the official “to establish a back channel of communication” at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Reaction to the delegation “will be relayed directly” to the Russian President and foreign minister, according to an email from an American working with Butina quoted in the agreement.

Butina agreed to turn over any evidence of crimes she is aware of, submit a full accounting of her financial assets, sit for interviews with law enforcement (and waive right-to-counsel during those interviews) and testify before grand juries or in trials in Washington or elsewhere.

She faces a maximum of five years in prison, but will likely receive zero to six months based on her plea agreement and has already been incarcerated for five months. Butina would likely be deported after serving her sentence. A hearing was set for February to discuss a sentencing date. Her sentencing is on hold while she cooperates with federal prosecutors on other ongoing investigations, including into her American co-conspirator and boyfriend, Republican political operative Paul Erickson.

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Meet Jameson Weide, a senior at Sartell High School. He enjoys playing football with the lads after school every day. He also loves late night drives with...

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Maria Butina pleads guilty as a Russian spy