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Not a spy novel: Butina’s lawyer reminds public that client isn’t charged with espionage (VIDEO)

Not a spy novel: Butina’s lawyer reminds public that client isn’t charged with espionage (VIDEO)
Media reports that portray Maria Butina as a spy misrepresent the actual charges leveled against her, and no evidence has been produced to back allegations that the Russian activist was a “honey trap,” Butina’s lawyer told RT.

Sensational reports about Butina’s alleged activities in Washington read like a spy novel, but the US government’s case against the 29-year-old Russian student and gun activist is far more mundane, Robert Driscoll, Butina’s lawyer, told RT in an exclusive interview.

“If you read the indictment of the case, she is alleged to be an agent of Russia who failed to register with the attorney general. Essentially, that means that they have not charged her with espionage and if you read the allegations against her, none of the allegations have anything spy-like about it. Essentially, the government is conceding that even under their own theory, if she had filed a piece of paper with the attorney general’s office at the beginning of her trip to America, everything she did was legal.”

Driscoll also criticized the way that his client’s case was being presented to the public, noting that even though Butina has not been charged with espionage, “the media – and the government to some extent – are treating it like an espionage crime.” Furthermore, the government has yet to produce evidence to substantiate the claim that Butina traded sex for influence.

“[The honey trap] allegation was set forth in a proffer by the government, meaning they did not produce evidence to back up that allegation at the time. We’re still waiting to see that, and we’re not sure that it even exists, or that it exists in any meaningful form,” Driscoll told RT.

He said he was trying to push back against “the public and editors and producers” who enjoy speculating on the unproven claims, noting “it’s very hard to see your client kind of dragged through the mud like this.”

The full interview will air on Wednesday, August 1 at 21:00 GMT.

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