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Butina’s defense appeals to disregard statement from former FBI official

Attorneys of Maria Butina, Russian citizen arrested in the US on charges of espionage, has appealed to disregard the statement of former FBI employee Robert Anderson who claimed that her actions had been “taken on behalf of the Russian Federation”, the court database of the US District of Columbia informs.

Through her attorneys, Butina appeals for the court to disregard the expert statement of Robert Anderson, the document informs. The lawyers criticized the court materials provided by the former FBI official, claiming that the prosecution had breached legal norms.

Earlier, Anderson claimed that “Butina was not a spy in the traditional sense of trying to gain access to classified information to send back to her home country.” “She was not a trained intelligence officer. But the actions she took were nonetheless taken on behalf of the Russian Official for the benefit of the Russian Federation, and those actions had the potential to damage the national security of the United States,” he said.

On Friday, the US prosecution has recommended to sentence Butina to 18 months behind bars. The Russian citizen’s defense team requested sentencing her to a prison term that does not exceed the time she had already spent in prison.

The final decision will be made by Judge Tanya Chutkan. The sentencing of Butina, who has already spent nine months behind bars, is scheduled for April 26.

Maria Butina, 30, was arrested in Washington DC on July 15, right before the Helsinki meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump. The US Department of Justice said that she was suspected of acting “as an agent of Russia inside the United States by developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organizations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

On December 13, Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the US law governing foreign agents operating in the country and signed a plea agreement. The prosecution said at the time that the process of Butina’s cooperation with the investigation might take some time.

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