BREAKING NEWS Death investigation at Olmsted County intersection Full Story

Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina seeks dismissal of charges

Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina asked a federal judge on Thursday to throw out the criminal case against ...

Posted: Nov 16, 2018 8:07 AM
Updated: Nov 16, 2018 8:07 AM

Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina asked a federal judge on Thursday to throw out the criminal case against her.

Butina, 30, was charged in July with two counts related to her activities in the US, which prosecutors allege broke federal law because she was secretly acting on behalf of the Kremlin and was working at the direction of a senior Russian government official. She has pleaded not guilty.

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Eastern Europe

Europe

Law and legal system

Maria Butina

Misc people

Russia

2016 Presidential election

Court trials

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Investigations

North America

Political candidates

Politics

Russia meddling investigation

The Americas

Trial and procedure

United States

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

RELATED: Alleged Russian agent's infiltration of GOP circles anything but subtle

"The government contends Maria is a Kremlin agent because she shared her memorable American happenings and naïve, youthful optimism for better Russian-American relations with others, including an individual claimed to be 'Russian Official,' who did not employ her, pay her, request her to pursue better relations between the two countries, or exert any control over her daily activities," Butina's lawyers wrote in their 28-page request to Judge Tanya Chutkan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

In grandiose language, Butina's lawyers argued that the evidence against her is so weak that if that conduct is criminal, "scores of people are unknowingly violating this statute" against acting as an agent for a foreign government without informing the Justice Department.

If Chutkan doesn't throw out the full two-count indictment, Butina's lawyers want the judge to force prosecutors to drop one of the charges. They say the prosecutors violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the US Constitution by charging Butina with two crimes for the same conduct.

The separate charges "afford the government an unfair advantage by increasing the likelihood that the jury will convict on at least one count, if only as the result of a compromise verdict," Butina's lawyers told the judge.

Butina has been in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail since her arrest in July. Despite pleading from Butina's lawyers, the judge previously ruled that Butina must stay in jail until her trial because she is a significant flight risk.

Prosecutors previously said Butina spent years infiltrating US political groups at the behest of her mentor, Kremlin-linked banker Alexander Torshin, to push the groups to adopt a friendlier position toward Russia. Prosecutors also said Butina and Torshin tried to use their contacts at the National Rifle Association to set up back-channel communications between candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Butina's lawyers repeated their claim on Thursday that she "came to the United States as a student to better her career and make connections all on her own volition." She received a graduate degree from American University this year.

Prosecutors have faced some hurdles in their case against Butina. For one, they acknowledged in September that they had misunderstood some of Butina's text messages when they accused her of trading sex for access to influential political circles.

Butina's legal team did not raise any concerns about that mix-up in its motion to dismiss the indictment on Thursday.

Butina is one of more than two dozen Russian citizens charged this year with interfering with US politics, though the vast majority of the other cases were brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating interference in the 2016 US election. Butina's case is unique, though, in that she is the only Russian appearing in court, because she was caught on US soil.

Representatives from the Russian Consulate have taken a special interest in her case, appearing at some of her hearings in Washington. According to court filings, her arrest and detention has been the subject of some diplomatic communications between the US State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

This story has been updated.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 604608

Reported Deaths: 7642
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1249941780
Ramsey52516897
Dakota46848471
Anoka42782458
Washington27433291
Stearns22559225
St. Louis18142313
Scott17552137
Wright16382149
Olmsted13401102
Sherburne1202495
Carver1067548
Clay826492
Rice8203110
Blue Earth762644
Crow Wing681795
Kandiyohi668185
Chisago620052
Otter Tail586284
Benton582998
Goodhue483974
Douglas475681
Mower470533
Winona461351
Itasca459963
Isanti440164
McLeod430861
Morrison424862
Beltrami407862
Nobles407550
Steele397816
Polk389072
Becker386755
Lyon363853
Carlton353056
Freeborn347133
Pine334923
Nicollet331345
Mille Lacs311854
Brown307940
Le Sueur297326
Cass286232
Todd285633
Meeker263443
Waseca238023
Martin235333
Roseau211221
Wabasha20793
Hubbard196641
Dodge18793
Renville182846
Redwood176539
Houston174616
Cottonwood167124
Wadena163423
Fillmore157610
Faribault154819
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec146828
Sibley146810
Aitkin138937
Watonwan13579
Rock128719
Jackson122812
Pipestone116726
Yellow Medicine115020
Pope11306
Murray107110
Swift106918
Koochiching95418
Stevens92411
Clearwater89016
Marshall88817
Lake83220
Wilkin83213
Lac qui Parle75622
Big Stone6044
Grant5948
Lincoln5853
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
Kittson49022
Unassigned48293
Red Lake4017
Traverse3775
Lake of the Woods3453
Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371146

Reported Deaths: 6053
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58273640
Linn21228339
Scott20310248
Black Hawk16167312
Woodbury15241230
Johnson1462385
Dubuque13512211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11229174
Story1071648
Warren584091
Clinton561593
Cerro Gordo554095
Sioux517674
Webster516094
Muscatine4884106
Marshall486876
Des Moines467572
Wapello4338122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421172
Plymouth403181
Lee382356
Marion366076
Jones301057
Henry294537
Bremer288661
Carroll287152
Boone268634
Crawford268140
Benton259955
Washington257351
Dickinson249344
Mahaska232751
Jackson225242
Clay216727
Kossuth216166
Tama212071
Delaware211143
Winneshiek198835
Page194522
Buchanan194133
Cedar192323
Hardin187544
Fayette186743
Wright186040
Hamilton181951
Harrison180073
Clayton171157
Butler166335
Madison164619
Mills163724
Floyd163442
Cherokee159338
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157136
Allamakee152852
Hancock150334
Iowa149824
Winnebago144531
Cass139255
Calhoun138913
Grundy137333
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131737
Sac130920
Union130035
Louisa129749
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124917
Franklin123523
Guthrie123332
Humboldt119626
Palo Alto113623
Howard105022
Montgomery103638
Clarke100924
Keokuk96832
Monroe96431
Unassigned9530
Ida91535
Adair87332
Pocahontas85822
Davis85225
Monona83131
Osceola78916
Greene78011
Lucas77923
Worth7618
Taylor66812
Fremont6269
Decatur6169
Ringgold56424
Van Buren56318
Wayne54423
Audubon53311
Adams3444
Rochester
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 68°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 68°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 68°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 66°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 66°
Storm chances increasing for Thursday and Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events