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Prosecutors Admit Error In Sex Claim Against Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina

Prosecutors Admit Error In Sex Claim Against Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina

“The government’s understanding of this particular text conversation was mistaken”

In July, the Department of Justice charged Russian national Maria Butina with conspiring to defraud the United States and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.  She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

U. S. prosecutors admitted they misread text messages they used in court Friday to claim that Butina traded sex for access.  They were attempting to show Butina as a flight risk and say the mistake should not diminish their case to continue holding her.  She had been denied bond in July, but her attorney wants her released on home confinement.

The Washington Post reports:

U.S. prosecutors have acknowledged they misunderstood text messages they used to claim in court that a Russian woman traded sex for access and should be jailed pending trial on charges she was a foreign agent attempting to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and other American conservative groups.

The concession came in a late-night court filing Friday in which prosecutors said Maria Butina, 29, should stay in custody as a flight risk but wrote “the government’s understanding of this particular text conversation was mistaken.”

Butina’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, stated that the “only evidence the government relied on for its explosive claim was an excerpt from an innocuous three-year-old text exchange sent in Russia between Ms. Butina and DK, her longtime friend, assistant, and public relations man for The Right to Bear Arms gun rights group that she founded.”

USA Today reports:

The messages between the pair were sent after DK took Butina’s car for a yearly inspection.

“I don’t know what you owe me for this insurance they put me through the wringer,” DK wrote to Butina, according to court filings.

Butina replied: “Sex. Thank you so much. I have nothing else at all.”

Butina later said DK could “ask for anything” including “that they hire you.”

Driscoll said this was “clearly a joke” because he already worked for Butina’s gun-rights organization.

Prosecutors admitted Friday that they were “mistaken” and may have misunderstood the text messages that were used as the basis of the claim.

Both parties will be back in court on Monday for a status conference.


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Could we headline this Gun rights advocate jailed>?

Comey: “I don’t know what you owe me for this insurance they put me through the wringer”

Hillary replied: “Sex. I have nothing else I want to give up.”

Now that would be a sick joke for sure.

I just would like the judge to find out if the DOJ attorneys went to an accredited law school. Reading comprehension seems to be their problem or they are just liars.

So is she available for sex, or not?

What a bunch of Gomers. Well goll-ee.

Shut the DOJ down and start over. Corruption and stupidity are rampant.

Justice in the bedroom? It seems kind of invasive.

Now, I noticed this problem with the indictment on the first day. I do not deserve a prize for my insight. The DoJ does not deserve one for its very late concession. I suppose they want the judge to be extremely merciful considering the government admits to having spiced up a public indictment with inflammatory, salacious allegations of a sexual nature without adequate evidence?

    Bisley in reply to JBourque. | September 10, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I fail to see how any of his could be construed to make an argument for holding her without bail. Are they saying that they fear she will trade sex for a ride on a container ship to Kaliningrad?

They have charged her with trying to “Infiltrate” the NRA! For $25 a year anyone can infiltrate the NRA! This is the FBI?

    When I first became an NRA member you had to be recommended by an existing member and sign an Oath to (IIRC – been a long, long time as in D.D.E was President) to support the country and the Constitution. Not quite the same in recent decades.

      Sendarius in reply to Edward. | September 10, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      I’ve been a member of the NRA for over ten years, and don’t recall any such requirement.

      As an Australian, I am not sure I would have complied, even though I strongly support most of the goals of the NRA, and the principles of the US Constitution.

      By this admission, am I the next target for a charge of “infiltration of the NRA as a foreign agent”?

Like the Trump/Russian collusion theory, this never made sense from the beginning. Why would Russia try to infiltrate the NRA? They aren’t going to support pro-gun policy harder than the NRA already does, and the members aren’t going to follow a group if they go all soft on gun support if the Russians were to take the NRA over.

There is no angle that makes sense except that the NRA has enemies who will use any pretext to smear them.

    Tom Servo in reply to Matt_SE. | September 10, 2018 at 9:23 am

    I have looked, and I can find no good explanation of where the charge of “trying to defraud the US government” is coming from. I seriously do not understand the charges against her, other than she is a Russian National and she is one of the only ones the DOJ could get its hands on, so they grabbed her.

    As far as the “failure to register as an agent”, I haven’t seen evidence that she was lobbying the government (talking to private citizens is no violation) plus, this is the “offense” that the Podesta’s were allowed to “cure” by simply backdating a piece of paper with no charges filed at all. So, this is the classic “friends walk free, enemies get jailed” kind of “criminal” charge, one familiar to anyone who’s looked at totalitarian “justice” systems.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Matt_SE. | September 10, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Conversely, it is easy to understand why someone from Russia would value the second amendment.

Bucky Barkingham | September 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

Nationwide dangerous repeat offenders charged with felonies are release on personal recognizance but this Russian babe is such a danger to society that she must be jailed?

You know what I miss? The freedom exhibited by Butina in her reply. A little snark, an intelligent joke between colleagues. The lack of concern that things will be stupidly or intentionally misinterpreted.

Mueller and his like have done a lot of damage to our society, by making us scared. Life should be fun! Mueller should go to hell!

Let me get this straight.

The DOJ initially claimed that Maria Butina traded sex for access in an attempt to ‘infiltrate’ the…wait for it…NRA and other conservative organizations. Now the DOJ is saying they ‘misunderstood’ text messages she sent. This claim was used to portray her as a ‘flight risk’ and she has been denied bond.

NY Times reporter Ali Watkins was shtupping James Wolfe, the security director of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in order to gain access to classified U.S. Government information, apparently including the unredacted Carter Paige FISA warrant application. Watkins used the classified information to which she gained access in her reporting. Watkins was ‘reassigned’ within the NY Times, while Wolfe was arrested, charged with lying to the FBI, and fired from his position with the Committee. Neither Watkins nor Wolfe were charged under the Espionage Act relating to the mishandling or improper disclosure or receiving of classified information.

But Maria Butina is charged with trying to infiltrate the NRA.

    alaskabob in reply to joe.butin. | September 10, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Watkins and Wolfe are not Russian names and as such are not suspect. However, there are a few Russian names that are never suspect…Lenin, Stalin, Beria, Gorby…

    Since I traveled and studied a little in the USSR and a life member of the evil NRA… obviously the tentacles of Russian intrigue and sympathy run deep and long. I also like Vodka… so there.

Gee. I like cabbage rolls and noodles. Does that make me a Russian agent? I like Chinese food, and that is my second language–to the point where I have been paid for document translation. Does that make me a Chinese agent, when I am highly suspicious of any Communist Party, ruling or not?

The case against Maria Butina seems incredibly flimsy based upon the publicly available knowledge, and hardly worthy of pre-trial forced incarceration.