Prosecutors: Russian woman was in contact with Kremlin intelligence

By Ed Adamczyk

July 18 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors said Wednesday Maria Butina, a U.S.-based Russian woman charged this week with conspiring to influence American politics, was recently in contact with a suspected Russian intelligence official.

In a 12-page court filing, prosecutors deemed her a serious flight risk and asked that she be detained ahead of trial.


Another filing said Butina, 29, has been in contact with agents of Russia's FSB counterintelligence agency throughout her two-year stay in the United States.

The filings follow Butina's arrest Sunday on charges she conspired to develop relationships in the United States and infiltrate organizations with influence on U.S. politics.

The FBI had previously determined that even though Butina had a personal relationship with someone in court papers called Person 1, she offered a different person "sex in exchange for a position with a special interest organization," NPR reported.

Person 1 was identified as political fundraiser Paul Erickson. The special interest organization was not identified, but Butina sought the involvement of the National Rifle Association as a way to make contacts with U.S. political leaders, the NPR report said.


"The defendant is considered to be on par with other covert Russian agents," prosecutors said in a pretrial detention request. She was scheduled for a detention hearing later Wednesday.

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