Alleged Russian agent offered sex to make political connections, feds say

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Prosecutors say she contacted Russian operatives while in the US and used her cover as a gun rights activist to gain access to conservative politicians.

The Justice Department said Butina had broken USA law by not disclosing to authorities that she was acting on behalf of the Russian government. And prosecutors also are accusing her of using sex and deception to forge influential connections. Also, the prosecution displayed a copy of a handwritten note found by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, allegedly by Butina, in which she asks how to respond to an employment offer by a Russian intelligence agency. He also drew attention to the fact that several months ago, when she came to the attention of local authorities, Maria testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee providing the lawmakers with requested documents.

Butina pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday to charges of conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent.

Addressing reporters after the hearing, Driscoll protested the court's decision to keep Butina jailed and told them she posed no flight risk.

The Russian woman arrested this week on charges of being a foreign agent has ties to Russian intelligence operatives and was in contact with them while in the United States, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

But in court papers, prosecutors said Butina's university enrollment was a cover for her covert duties and that she suggested, falsely, on her visa application that she was no longer employed by the Russian official at the time she applied for a student visa. She said the mistake "shows frankly the outrageousness and the. desire to find the negative in everything that this president does".

More news: Trump sets expectations low for Helsinki summit with Putin

Prosecutors have said Butina's main Russian contact was a high-level government official who matches the description of Alexander Torshin, a Russian central banker and former senator from Putin's party.

Authorities said the relationship with the operative shouldn't be seen as a "strong tie" to the United States, noting she "offered an individual other than U.S. Person 1 sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization". "What can I say!" They said Butina could slip into a Russian embassy or a Russian diplomatic vehicle and get out of the country, and had connections with wealthy business executives linked to the Putin administration.

During the hearing, Driscoll said Butina was "famous" in Russian Federation for her gun-rights work before coming to the United States and developed legitimate relationships with the NRA through that advocacy and Torshin, whom he described as a mentor.

Prosecutors also alleged that she used a personal relationship with an unnamed American political operative, with whom she was living, "as simply a necessary aspect" of her covert activities on behalf of Russian Federation.

"While we respect the court, we strongly disagree that there were no conditions of release short of incarceration to detain an innocent student before trial", he said.

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