World / Crime & Legal

Third-party motion to have alleged Russian agent Maria Butina's charges dropped rejected


A third party requested to intervene in the case against alleged Russian operative Maria Butina and have the indictment charging her with acting as an unregistered agent of the country dismissed, but was rejected.

Butina has been held since her arrest July 15 after prosecutors said she had ties to Russia’s intelligence services and oligarchs who could offer her safe harbor. The third party made the requests in a filing in federal court in Washington that was rejected by the clerk because of a technical flaw, according to records made available Friday.

A magistrate judge in Washington denied the 29-year-old Butina’s request July 18 for a bail bond, saying there were “no conditions or combination of conditions” that would ensure she would appear for trial. Butina pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and operating as an agent.

Butina is accused of attempting to influence American politics by infiltrating groups such as the National Rifle Association. She’s the latest Russian to be charged in an expanding investigation that has led to the indictment of Russian military intelligence officers who allegedly stole and disseminated emails from Democratic groups.

The investigation into Butina’s activities began before Robert Mueller was brought on as special counsel in May 2017 and is being handled by the Justice Department’s national security unit and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington.

The case is U.S. v. Butina, 18-cr-00218, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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