Accused Russian spy Maria Butina asks for house arrest

The alleged Russian spy Maria Butina should be released from jail and placed on house arrest, her attorneys ...

Posted: Aug 25, 2018 8:02 PM
Updated: Aug 25, 2018 8:02 PM

The alleged Russian spy Maria Butina should be released from jail and placed on house arrest, her attorneys argued in a court filing Friday that seeks to paint her as a humble student whose interactions with Americans and Russians are overblown by prosecutors who indicted her for acting illegally as a foreign agent.

Specifically, Butina's defense team describes her relationship to Russian billionaire Alexander Torshin, who allegedly mentored her in attempts to infiltrate Republican politics, as "actually just a friend."

Constitutional law

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Eastern Europe

Espionage

Europe

Firearms

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

House arrest

Intelligence services

International relations and national security

Law and legal system

Maria Butina

Misc people

National security

Right to bear arms

Russia

Weapons and arms

Her lawyers also included a text message chain in which a married gun rights advocate whom Butina allegedly offered to sleep with in an attempt to gain political influence said he would "never sleep with a redhead" like Butina.

Butina, 29, has been in jail -- first in Washington, now in Alexandria, Virginia -- since July 15, when she pleaded not guilty to the foreign agent charges in DC federal court. Butina's house arrest request will be discussed at a court hearing on Sept. 10, the judge said.

The Siberian-born former American University graduate student allegedly built Republican Party connections through gun rights groups including the NRA and through the National Prayer Breakfast as a way to push pro-Russian interests, prosecutors charge.

Prosecutors have pointed to extensive text conversations Butina had with Torshin while in the US, including when they discussed other accused Russian spies, as well as her communications with a Russian spy agency and a dinner in Washington she spent with a Russian diplomat suspected of working in intelligence. Prosecutors have told the court they believe she could flee easily if released, especially if the Russian government were to pick her up in a diplomatic vehicle in Washington.

"The government relies on innuendo and undefined phrases, soundbites and alarmist buzzwords," her attorneys wrote Friday. "The assertion that she was arrested for an alleged 'role in a covert Russian influence operation in the United States' is a war drum based on pure fiction."

Regarding the person she may have had sex with, her attorneys describe him only with the initials "DK," and call him her longtime friend and public relations person for her gun rights group The Right to Bear Arms.

At one point, the man took her car for an inspection, the filing said, and texted her the suggestion that she owed him.

"Butina jokingly replied, 'Sex. Thank you so much. I have nothing else at all. Not a nickel to my name.' DK responded: 'Ugh . . . ( '—that is, with a sad face emoticon," the filing said.

"Maria continued her thanks, '[DK], thank you so much!!!!! Ask for anything . . . . . . you want.' And DK volleyed back, 'Think of something!! Sex with you does not interest me. Think!'

Butina's attorney asserts she considered returning to Russia for law school or transferring to Harvard University once she arrived at American University, showing her interest in academic studies.

"No person from the Russian government instructed her to go to American," the filing says.

In her Harvard application, she wrote about her "Motherland" and how Russia and the United States could be "partners (again) on the world stage," according to her graduate application essay, which was included in the filing Friday among other documents.

Torshin had written her a letter of recommendation for Harvard and for Columbia University's graduate school as well.

Harvard offered her an admissions interview in January 2017, according to the filing.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 589527

Reported Deaths: 7333
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1221311726
Ramsey51028871
Dakota45667448
Anoka41421437
Washington26724281
Stearns22139221
St. Louis17682302
Scott17201124
Wright15943139
Olmsted1319098
Sherburne1160286
Carver1044945
Clay812792
Rice8014106
Blue Earth746141
Crow Wing660988
Kandiyohi652083
Chisago592551
Otter Tail572978
Benton565997
Goodhue475772
Douglas464674
Mower464032
Winona452950
Itasca432254
McLeod421658
Isanti417364
Morrison417360
Nobles407248
Beltrami392458
Steele384915
Polk382468
Becker378850
Lyon359850
Carlton344153
Freeborn341129
Pine326722
Nicollet323843
Brown304640
Mille Lacs302452
Le Sueur289222
Todd280632
Cass269628
Meeker254340
Waseca236522
Martin229831
Roseau207919
Wabasha20483
Hubbard187141
Dodge18373
Renville178943
Redwood172936
Houston171515
Cottonwood164321
Fillmore155510
Wadena155122
Pennington153619
Chippewa151838
Faribault151319
Kanabec143424
Sibley142510
Aitkin134236
Watonwan13219
Rock128019
Jackson121711
Pipestone115126
Yellow Medicine113820
Pope10956
Murray10609
Swift104918
Stevens90211
Marshall88017
Clearwater86416
Koochiching81715
Lake80819
Wilkin80712
Lac qui Parle75022
Big Stone5984
Lincoln5773
Grant5678
Mahnomen5459
Norman5399
Unassigned48793
Kittson48522
Red Lake3957
Traverse3685
Lake of the Woods3223
Cook1610

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366197

Reported Deaths: 5929
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57488623
Linn20814334
Scott19960240
Black Hawk15785308
Woodbury15121228
Johnson1445783
Dubuque13355209
Dallas1116198
Pottawattamie11091168
Story1059248
Warren575888
Clinton554393
Cerro Gordo538089
Sioux513874
Webster512193
Marshall482175
Muscatine477499
Des Moines454366
Wapello4297122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418672
Plymouth400680
Lee375055
Marion361775
Jones298157
Henry291137
Carroll285452
Bremer283960
Crawford265840
Boone263934
Benton256055
Washington253950
Dickinson247843
Mahaska229951
Jackson221242
Clay215325
Kossuth215264
Delaware209240
Tama209271
Winneshiek196934
Page192622
Buchanan190731
Cedar189423
Hardin184943
Fayette184841
Wright184336
Hamilton179449
Harrison179373
Clayton169256
Butler164634
Mills161722
Madison161519
Floyd160342
Cherokee158738
Lyon157741
Poweshiek154733
Allamakee151151
Iowa148324
Hancock147634
Winnebago141731
Calhoun138113
Cass137954
Grundy136233
Emmet134040
Jefferson132435
Shelby130737
Sac130119
Union128133
Appanoose128049
Louisa127849
Mitchell126042
Chickasaw123915
Guthrie121030
Franklin119321
Humboldt118826
Palo Alto112523
Howard104522
Montgomery103338
Clarke99924
Unassigned9770
Keokuk95631
Monroe95129
Ida90334
Adair86432
Pocahontas85322
Davis82824
Monona82830
Osceola78516
Greene77610
Lucas77123
Worth7438
Taylor65712
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55618
Ringgold55524
Wayne53723
Audubon50810
Adams3384
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 58°
Mason City
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 58°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 59°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 59°
Charles City
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: °
Gradual warm-up this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events