Maria Butina Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy

Maria Butina Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy

Maria Butina Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy

Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to conspiring to influence US politics through her connections to the National Rifle Association, according to Dow Jones.

As part of her plea deal, the details of which ABC News reported earlier this week, Butina agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and cooperate with federal, state and local authorities in any ongoing investigations.

"Guilty", Butina said with a light accent in entering her plea with U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan at a hearing Thursday morning in federal court in Washington.

Butina, 30, was charged in a years-long effort to infiltrate political groups on behalf of the Kremlin, including the National Rifle Association. CNN reported Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the case, that Butina has already offered information to investigators about an American she allegedly conspired with, as well as a Russian official alleged to have directed her US activities.

According to CNN, the prosecutor in this case told the court that "Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over USA politics".

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

She waived her rights to trial and appeal as part of the plea.

Butina is expected to provide evidence against a Republican Party consultant with whom she had a romantic relationship and worked closely with after they met while he visited Moscow in 2013.

Her lawyers have identified the Russian official as Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia's central bank who was hit with US Treasury Department sanctions in April.

Prosecutors said Butina in March 2015 crafted something called the "Diplomacy Project" with help from "U.S. Person 1", and to carry out the plan, she requested $125,000 from a Russian billionaire to attend conferences and set up "separate meetings with interested parties".

The interesting development here was that Butina's GOP operative, her NRA-connected boyfriend Paul Erickson, was implicated in her crime.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Maria Butina has pleaded guilty to engaging in conspiracy against the United States.

The case has no connection with the Mueller inquiry into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in an attempt to secure victory for Donald Trump.

On Thursday, Butina admitted in federal court that she had acted "under direction of" a Russian official.

Butina, who has been jailed since her arrest in July, agreed to remain behind bars pending sentencing. "For what?" Putin asked rhetorically.

As you can see in the illustration below, Butina is at the center of several circles-the Trump campaign, the NRA and Russian Federation.

"I asked all the heads of our intelligence services what is going on - nobody knows anything about her".

While Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow, Russia, in turn, has also denied interfering in the USA politics.

Butina, who'd started an NRA-like group in Russian Federation called the Right to Bear Arms, was already a fixture in the American gun-rights community.

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