STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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 9:02 PM
Updated: Aug 25, 2018 9:02 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.

West Lafayette
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 61°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 62°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Logansport
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events