Russian spy Maria Butina admits conspiracy to infiltrate National Rifle Association

A US judge postpones plea agreement for Maria Butina

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As part of her plea, Butina admitted seeking to establish and use "unofficial lines of communication with Americans having influence over US politics" for the benefit of the Russian government, through a person fitting the description of sanctioned Russian central banker Alexander Torshin, prosecutor Erik Kenerson said. No further details were given in court, however.

Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleaded guilty in federal court today to one conspiracy charge, and has agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Butina was also subjected to cavity searches after every visit from her lawyer, Kovalik said. On Wednesday she agreed to cooperate for a lesser prison sentence, as she now faces five years.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova alleged that Butina was treated to a "medieval inquisition" while in detention and said the Russian government viewed her as a "political prisoner" who had been targeted by zealous American officials.

Butina acknowledged she "sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over USA politics", according to the plea agreement.

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Erickson's description appears to match "Person 1" mentioned in the prosecution's statement of offense.

"Paul Erickson is a good American", it said. He is widely believed to be Alexander Torshin, a Russian banking official who has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While speculation swirled over Clarke's ties to the Russian agent, she was awaiting approval for her plea deal from a judge.

A Russian national who built a powerful network of Republican contacts via the U.S. gun rights lobby that reached into President Donald Trump's circle admitted Thursday acting as an illegal foreign agent.

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Butina already has spent five months in jail, and there is a possibility her sentence will amount to time served, according to the New York Times. In addition to attending numerous NRA events, Butina organized "friendship dinners" in Washington with influential political figures.

"We get along with Putin", Trump told Butina. "I think she was treated and is still treated probably as a terrorist or something like that", she added.

Butina also hosted "friendship dinners" in the hope of establishing ties with people who "would have the ear of the next US presidential administration", prosecutors said. "I have reasons to assume that the goal of the [detention] conditions that were created for her was to break her will and make her admit to something that she most probably did not commit", Lavrov pointed out.

I have reasons to believe the conditions that have been created for her are meant to break her will and make her confess to something she likely didn't do.

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Russian Federation says its spy agencies had no knowledge of Butina or her activities.

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