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Maria Butina Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Cooperate

Maria Butina has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and is cooperating with the Government. The plea agreement is here.

The Statement of Facts she agreed to are attached to the end of the plea agreement.

It's unlikely she'll get any more time when sentenced. While there is no guideline applicable to her offense, she'll likely be in the 0 to 6 month range, and she's been in detention for months. She also agreed today to remain in detention until sentencing.

I wonder what reception she'll get if she goes back to Russia, since they will know she disclosed information about Russia to the U.S. Right now the plea agreement does not provide for relief from removal from the U.S. Of course, if the Government decides later she is fulfilling her cooperation obligation, it can request she be granted an S-Visa ("snitch visa"). (Here is the ICE page for Form I-854, officially called the Inter-Agency Alien Witness and Informant Record.)It's like a green card for informants.

More the various players in the case is here.

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    Saw someone speculating (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 13, 2018 at 06:45:10 PM EST
    That if she is cooperating with the idea she will be sent back to Russia she is possibly doing it with the permission of Putin.

    The idea being all she is really doing is causing more turmoil here.  More charges.  More people implicated.  More conflict and more investigations of more politicians.

    If you think that has really been the plan all along it sort of makes sense.

    Have to say it would make no sense at all to me if she thinks there is a possibility she will be sent back to a hostile Putin. What ever they would do to her here seems likely to be a walk in the park compared to what he might do.

    DailyBeast (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 13, 2018 at 07:45:52 PM EST
    Prosecutors will ask for a lighter sentence for Butina, who has been jailed since July, but said she is "very likely" to be deported once she is released.


    Parent
    Butina might also qualify (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Peter G on Fri Dec 14, 2018 at 08:48:28 AM EST
    for a "U Visa" to protect her against deportation after serving a sentence.

    Parent
    that's probably more apt (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 14, 2018 at 11:14:03 AM EST
    because I think an "S" visa ends when there is no more need for your cooperation (but I'm not sure on that.)

    Parent
    Actually, it was proably the S-visa that (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Fri Dec 14, 2018 at 04:15:49 PM EST
    I had (mistakenly) in the back of my mind. Some info about it is here and here. Apparently it can even turn into a special route to LPR status. Looks like an S-visa for witnesses is only good for 3 years, though, and is unavailable if you're convicted of a felony (as Butina now has been).

    Parent
    If she has actually "cooperated" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Thu Dec 13, 2018 at 09:37:22 PM EST
    against Russian intelligence here, she would have a political asylum case to make as a defense to deportation.

    Parent
    Yes (none / 0) (#7)
    by linea on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 02:40:35 PM EST
    I'm back!

    This is a topic that I'm very opinionated on. If a different viewpoint tends to offend and enrage you, please skip my post.

    ❤️💕❤️💕❤️💕❤️💕

    Yes, in retrospect, Maria should have registered and filed the appropriate paperwork.

    Still, I remain outraged that the Federal Prosecutors falsely slut-shamed Maria and depicted her as some sort of Mata Hari spy-prostitute using her feminine sexual wiles to entice and entrap innocent males.

    This false narrative was also leveraged to claim she had no real connection to the community and thus was a flight risk. Of course, the allegation was garbage and the Federal Prosecutors were forced to admit this had no basis in reality. One wonders whether they were wanking to Red Sparrow as they filed this libel with the court.

    I previously posted my opposition to the magistrate denying Maria bail. I feel it is even more of an injustice considering that we are now informed the recommended sentencing guideline is 0 - 6 months.

    Maria's defense attorney was on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday. He stated Maria has not expressed any interest in remaining in the U.S. and reiterated that she's neither a spy nor a member of Russian Intelligence with any sort of secret information. I recommend listening to the interview (4 minutes).

    While I don't agree with Pat Buchanan politically, I though his comment on this issue to be entertaining and he places the discussion within an interesting historical context.

    Pat Buchanan, noting that "History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce," compared the comparatively unimportant Maria Butina to prosecutions during the Cold War saying, "who do we have today to match Hiss and the Rosenbergs? A 29-year-old redheaded Russian Annie Oakley accused of infiltrating the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast." [Source: Wikipedia, 11 Dec 2018, Maria Butina]

    My opinion, the DOJ should have simply revoked Maria's visa and expelled her from the country rather than peruse this prosecution.

    ❤️


    oh dear (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by leap on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 03:31:37 PM EST
    our freedom was so short-lived

    Parent
    Is justice travesty, (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by KeysDan on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 03:52:08 PM EST
    Maria no apparatchik just furniture maker from Siberia who NRA is liking.... Vlad.

    Parent
    "To Moscow. To Moscow. To Moscow." (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 04:07:45 PM EST
    [Checkov.]

    Parent
    She's toning to get credit for time (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 03:31:40 PM EST
    served--my opinion.  She wants to return to Russia--flight risk.  She was reporting to Russian government.

    Parent
    My opinion (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 09:02:37 AM EST
    Still, I remain outraged that the Federal Prosecutors falsely slut-shamed Maria and depicted her as some sort of Mata Hari spy-prostitute using her feminine sexual wiles to entice and entrap innocent males.

    This false narrative was also leveraged to claim she had no real connection to the community and thus was a flight risk. Of course, the allegation was garbage and the Federal Prosecutors were forced to admit this had no basis in reality. One wonders whether they were wanking to Red Sparrow as they filed this libel with the court.

    The only slander/libel here is your continued smearing of the professional prosecutors in this case as part of a failed attempt to portray Butina as a victim.

    This was not an inadvertent omission or failure to file paperwork.  She's was acting as a foreign agent on behalf of a hostile, foreign government that attacked our democracy.  She's not a victim simply because she's a woman.  

    But perhaps you're right.  Maybe her feelings were genuine and her relationship with a man old enough to be her father wasn't part of her attempts to infiltrate the NRA/Republican party.  Let's see how long it lasts after he's indicted.

    Heh.

    Parent

    Mariia had a thought on that (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 12:00:36 PM EST
    in one of her emails to Alexander Torshin, she complained that by having to sleep with a fat guy 25 years her senior she was "taking one for the team" that Torshin would never have to do.

    Parent
    Well (none / 0) (#20)
    by linea on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 01:29:05 PM EST
    Thank you for furthering the false narrative which Judge Tanya Chutkan chastised the prosecution over and to which the prosecution now admits was in error.

    Parent
    All I can think of (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 02:47:02 PM EST
    for some reason is a scene from one of the Austin Powers movies, where the female spy snuggles up in bed with "Fat Bastard" and then implants a suppository/tracking device inside him.

    Of course, there's every possibility that Maria just happens to be oddly excited by being in proximity to much-older, morbidly obese, hard-right political operatives. She's only human after all.

    Parent

    Nyet, Rocky. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 10:30:22 PM EST
    Natasha Fatale isn't in the clear until we find out what Fearless Leader has done with Boris Badenov.

    What other Kremlin operatives are lurking about in our country?

    Parent

    I stand by my post (none / 0) (#18)
    by linea on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 12:11:14 PM EST
    These prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves. Immediately after the dressing-down by Judge Tanya Chutkan, these prosecutors should have held a press conference and every one of them should have publicly apologized to Mariia.

    The false and degrading accusation that they put forth was repeated in news articles and television reports broadcast worldwide; that Mariia was some sort of spy-prostitute exchanging sexual favors for access to influential men. It was a sexist smear.

    This recklessness concerning a woman's reputation is inexcusable. Accusations of prostitution should not be levied frivolously and recklessly and should not used by proecutors simply to create a salacious narrative. Slut-shaming is not okay.

    At the time, based on the false narrative created by these locker-room prosecutors, The New York Times ran with the headline: "Maria Butina, Suspected Secret Agent, Used Sex in Covert Plan, Prosecutors Say." Here is the updated version (below):

    The New York Times
    Maria Butina, Russian Accused of Spying, Enters Plea Deal; Court Papers Backpedal on Sex Claims
    Dec. 10, 2018

    WASHINGTON -- Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of running a secret campaign to influence powerful American conservatives, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent, bringing to a close a case that had drawn headlines with prosecutors talking of a sly seductress who traded sex to further the aims of her spymasters in Moscow.

    But in court papers laying out the plea deal, the portrayal of Ms. Butina is far tamer than the narrative the government put forward after her arrest in July. The latest filings make no mention of the most salacious accusations against Ms. Butina -- that she used sex as spycraft -- and she instead comes across as the tool of powerful men who helped her to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party.

    Prosecutors even appear to have backed off the accusation that Ms. Butina used a graduate program at American University in Washington merely as a cover to enter the United States. "All available evidence indicates that Butina had interest in a graduate school education," prosecutors say in a footnote.
    ....
    Yet for all of the talk of Ms. Butina looking to make connections with influential Americans, she hardly comes off as a character out of "Red Sparrow," a spy thriller about a Russian femme fatale. If anything, what stands out in the court papers is the absence of the most headline-grabbing accusations that were made against Ms. Butina after her arrest.

    There is the prosecution's acknowledgment in the court papers that she genuinely wanted a graduate degree, and was not simply posing as a student. There is no mention of her having connections to Russian intelligence services. And nowhere is it suggested that she was only using Mr. Erickson to gain access to other influential Americans, or that she used sex at all in her efforts to promote pro-Russian views in the United States.



    Parent
    P.S. (none / 0) (#21)
    by linea on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 01:51:48 PM EST
    The "Tracey Ullman - Melania Robot" video is funny.

    Parent
    "Going" (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 03:31:58 PM EST


    Why would you do this? (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 04:30:32 PM EST


    Ha. (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 15, 2018 at 07:18:22 PM EST
    Signing off (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 16, 2018 at 12:42:50 PM EST
    Most of you know where to find me.

    Or someone you know does

    I have an email listed

    It's been fun.  I'm done.

    Happy people to see you around.

    Parent