Russian pleads guilty to campaign spying
by Kent Covington
Posted 12/14/18, 10:56 am
A Russian woman accused of being a secret agent admitted Thursday she conspired to gather intelligence on conservative political groups. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Maria Butina, 30, pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.
Prosecutors say Butina, who was arrested in July, and her Russian patron, Alexander Torshin, used their contacts in the National Rifle Association to build back channels for communication with American conservatives during the 2016 presidential campaign. Prosecutors say she will likely face deportation after serving her sentence. The charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, but sentencing guidelines recommend zero to six months. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Friday that Moscow would continue to try to help Butina even though Russia still denies she was a government spy.
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