Alleged prostitute Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka,was detained last year in Thailand on charges related to soliciting for sex and conspiracy to solicit. At the time of her arrest and subsequent plea, she claimed to have video and audio tape evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U. S. presidential election.
She has now retracted that claim and apologized for making a false claim. It’s not clear why she initially made this claim, but reports suggest that she was trying to leverage this purported “evidence” into a lesser charge/sentence.
At the time of her cryptic claims about Russian interference in the 2016 election, the New York Times reported:
In the interview at the immigration center on Monday, Ms. Vashukevich said that she had often recorded conversations between Mr. Deripaska and his associates, and that she had 16 to 18 hours of recordings, including conversations about the United States presidential election.
“They were discussing elections,” she said. “Deripaska had a plan about elections.”
But, she added, “I can’t tell you everything.”
Some of the conversations were with three people who spoke English fluently and who she thought were Americans, she said.
“It is not only about me,” she said. “It concerns a lot of people in America and other countries.”
Speaking to an AP reporter in the courtroom in Pattaya, Vashukevich said she had promised Deripaska she would no longer speak on the matter, and that he had already promised her something in return for not making that evidence public.
“He promised me a little something already,” Vashukevich said. “If he do that then there will be no problem, but if he don’t …” she said with a shrug and a smile.
She also shrugged and smiled when asked if she had kept her own copies of the information she recorded, which she said comprised “some audio, some video.”
Asked what the material showed, she said, “You’d have to ask Deripaska.”
Vashukevich created world headlines when she was first detained because she claimed to have audio recordings of Deripaska that provided evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
She appealed to America for help and for asylum, through a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, but provided no proof of her claims. At a hearing in April, she seemed to switch allegiances, making a public apology to Deripaska and saying it was the Americans, not the Russians, who were persecuting her.
For a fun look at anti-Trump media bias, check out this CBSN report in which the alleged prostitute is described as a “model” and her initial claims described as “Russian involvement in helping Donald Trump become president.”
On Saturday and in a Russian courtroom, the alleged prostitute retracted any claim that she had any such incriminating evidence and apologized for claiming that she did.
A Belarusian model and self-styled sex instructor who last year claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election said Saturday that she apologizes to a Russian tycoon for the claim and won’t say more about the matter.
Anastasia Vashukevich made the statement in a Moscow court that was considering whether to keep her in jail as she faces charges of inducement to prostitution. The court extended her detention for three more days.
Vashukevich’s statement appears to head off any chance of her speaking to U.S. investigators looking into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.
. . . . She told journalists in the Moscow court that she has apologized to Deripaska and says “I will no longer compromise him.”
Deripaska is among the Russian tycoons and officials who have been sanctioned in recent years by the United States in connection with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. His business empire includes aluminum, energy and construction assets.
Frankly, she’s not the most reliable of witnesses, and it doesn’t appear that she made any assertions that the Russians she claimed discussed “a plan for the elections” were in any way working in collusion with the Trump campaign. It doesn’t appear that she ever indicated she had evidence of any such connection at all.
I don’t think anyone is in doubt that Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 U. S. election; if they didn’t, it would be an historical anomaly.
But this retraction and apology underscore yet again the tenuous claims that Russian interference in our elections rises to the level of collusion with the Trump campaign. Indeed, the connection between interference and collusion is further exposed as, thus far, a complete fabrication based on sour grapes and anti-Trump wishful thinking.
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