Accused Russian spy Maria Butina pleads guilty

Cheryl Sanders
December 14, 2018

An alleged Russian spy was tortured in U.S. custody, the Russian government has claimed without providing any evidence. He has said his client was a student interested in American politics and wanted to see a better relationship between the US and Russian Federation.

Butina, who is being held in solitary confinement in a northern Virginia jail, has been incarcerated since her arrest in July.

"She used this option to survive", Zakharova told CNN. It's just inquisition. It's medieval inquisition.

Since then, her attorneys have struck a pugnacious tone in court filings, while the Kremlin has called her a "political prisoner" and accused Washington of violating her human rights.

'I think she was treated and is still treated probably as a terrorist or something like that, ' she added.

Robert Driscoll Maria Butina’s attorney leaves U.S. District Court in Washington Thursday Dec. 13 2018. Maria Butina a Russian accused of being a secret agent for the Russian government has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in federal court

"Further, Butina opined that the circumstances were favorable for building relations with a certain US political party", the filing reads.

Butina said that her mind was "absolutely clear" when she made this admission. We have no idea why she was treated like that.' The US attorney's office declined to comment.

The news comes a few days after the United States media reported that Butina had agreed to cooperate with USA authorities as part of a deal made with prosecutors.

The 30-year-old Butina was indicted in July on charges of conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent.

The plea agreement was originally suppose to take place Wednesday but will now take place Thursday. The hearing, which the judge had delayed by a day, is set to begin at 10.30am.

Maria Butina, a 30-year-old Russian gun rights activist, has signed onto a plea agreement with the US government, officially pivoting away from her months-long campaign to prove her innocence after standing accused of developing a covert influence operation in the United States.

Prosecutors say Butina worked to infiltrate the American gun-rights movement to gather intelligence on conservative political groups as Donald Trump rose to power. Neither Erickson nor Torshin has been accused by prosecutors of wrongdoing.

Judge Tanya Chutkan agreed to the plea change and found that Butina was "fully competent to make this plea".

The prosecutors in the Butina case are not from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 US election and whether Trump's campaign conspired with Moscow to help him win.

Russia's Foreign Ministry reacted to Butina's charges with outrage, launching a "Free Maria Butina" social media campaign and posting a photo of the alleged agent's face to the ministry's official Twitter account.

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.

Butina's case, brought by federal prosecutors in Washington, also comes amid a broader push by the Justice Department to enforce U.S. laws governing foreign agents, including those accused of working for Russian Federation.

Torshin, a high-ranking official of Russia's Central Bank, is considered a political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Other reports by iNewsToday