Butina’s lawyer ‘confident’ she will return to Russia ‘in a matter of days’ after sentencing
Butina’s legal team is working to get a time-served sentence in coming weeks, after which the woman would be deported to Russia, her attorney Robert Driscoll told RT.
The defense will be asking for “a sentence in a zero to six month range,” he said.
The attorney explained that Butina has already spent seven months in a US prison, and, if the court agrees with her team’s reasoning, she won’t have to do more jail time.
That verdict would automatically kick start the deportation process. Driscoll hopes that it will be done as quickly as possible, and Butina would see her homeland “in a matter of days” after the sentencing.
“She always wanted to return to Russia. That’s been her goal from the beginning,” he stated.
“I feel confident. We have a solid basis for what we’re requesting.”
The US authorities arrested Russian national and gun rights activist, Maria Butina, last year while she was staying in the country on a student visa. It coincided with the hunt for alleged ‘Russian agents’ meddling in US domestic affairs, which swept the nation after the highly-contentious 2016 presidential election.
Butina eventually pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent without government registration, as she was attending National Rifle Association (NRA) events and working to establish ties with Americans.
Robert Driscoll pointed out that Butina was never actually charged with espionage.
She didn’t do anything unlawful. She didn’t do anything to undermine the US. She wasn’t working to obtain classified information. She was simply doing peace-building and other political activities.
Russian officials, too, said that the woman had no ties to intelligence agencies. Butina herself denied that she ever engaged in any form of spying as well. “If I’m a spy, I’m the worst spy you could imagine,” she told the New Republic two weeks ago.
Maria Butina’s defense team previously alleged that she was kept under harsh conditions, which had led to serious health problems. She was placed in solitary confinement at some point, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described her incarceration as “a kind of torture.”
She has since been released from solitary confinement and is “doing well physically,” her attorney said, adding that the jailed activist maintains “an optimistic view.” Butina now has “a bit more freedom” behind bars, Driscoll said.
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